Colloquium: A Breath for Nothing… Approaching the Limit

Harrison & Wood, Twenty-Six (Drawing & Falling Things). 2001. (Selected image from video and series)

Martin Heidegger describes the poetic instance when the artist and thinker acts through “a breath for nothing…”

This one-day colloquium will investigate critical responses to performance through gesture and its arrest. Can theoretical or linguistic terms, such as ‘separation’ and ‘division‘, be applied to a state when the body approaches a limit of creating and thinking?

Date: Tuesday, 26th June, 2012
Time: 10am-5pm
Location: Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA

The first in this series of workshops was hosted by The University of Dundee took place in May 2011, entitled ‘Jean-Luc Nancy: Writing Upon the Limit’. This, the second, will extend from Nancy’s notion of ‘exscription’, a mode of inscribing the limit of writing traced outside the text. The aim now is to explore this ‘outside’ beyond writing and language. Considering how for Nancy the experience of space is felt and thought within as much as without the body suggests an internal and non-representational condition, or ‘spanne’. Could this notion be elaborated, or critically presented through performative interventions, which do not necessarily presuppose the primacy of text and image?

Bearing in mind Maurice Blanchot’s claim that conventional forms of writing cannot represent the limit as a literary ‘trace’, even by inscribing/drawing it literally, we can also consider this as a proposition for alternative approaches to a question of the limit.

This colloquium is free to attend.

To book your place or for more information please email either Robert Luzar ( or Carrie Giunta (


11.30am – 11.45am: Registration

11.45am – 1.00pm: Welcome Remarks & Session 1: Adrienne Janus (University of Aberdeen) ‘Soundings: The Secret of Water and the Resonance of the Image’ Carrie Giunta (University of Dundee) ‘A Question of Listening: ! Nancean Resonance, Return and Relation in Charlie Chaplin‘

1.00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch

2.00pm – 3.20pm: Session 2: Yve Lomax (Royal College of Art) ‘Figure—Gesture—Pure means’ Martin Crowley (Queens’ College, Cambridge) TBD

3.20pm – 3.35pm: Break

3.35pm – 4.45pm: Session 3: Paul Harrison (of artist group Harrison and Wood) ‘To live is to pass from one space to another, while doing your very best not to bump yourself’ (Perec) Philip Warnell (Kingston University) ‘Outlandish: A Conversation With Filmmaker Philip Warnell and Robert Luzar’

4.45pm – 5.00pm: Closing Remarks

This event is generously supported by Central Saint Martins Research.