Out Of Breath
In the air we couldn't breathe,
we found each other.
‘Out of Breath’ is a socially engaged art project addressing the use of tear gas by repressive regimes as a disproportionate and excessive anti-protesting measure, which initiates intercultural conversations and deals with the traumatic legacy of tear gas exposure around the world.
Hidden Keileon creates a sensory experience for the audience to explore the impact of tear gas and how air is used as a form of political control, as a way to show our ongoing concerns about the physical and psychological conditions of individuals in the face of socio-political instabilities.
Working closely with researchers, archivists, health practitioners, and art therapists, it provides a safe and caring space inviting people to share their stories about tear gas, how tear gas has been used and its impact on their mental and physical health through research, interviews, workshops and public discussions.
Through a collaborative approach and socially engaged creative process, ‘Out of Breath’ generates interracial solidarity among communities which are frequently ignored, silenced, or neglected due to the political tool of oppression.
This project includes public engagement workshops, experimental events with immersive performances, and an interactive exhibition of collapsible installations accompanying a publication and a documentary film. It shows how tear gas, which is designed to disperse crowds of people, has instead united us.
Photos by Jane Lam of Hidden Keileon working in Wellcome Library in August 2022.
Call for Stories
We are now collecting stories about people’s experience of tear gas in whatever circumstances and its impact on their mental and physical health.
These stories will contribute to our creation of the project with artistic transformation. This project gives a voice to and calls for inter-racial solidarity among communities which are either ignored, silenced, or neglected due to the political control of ‘air’.
In recent years, the global majority population has been growing significantly in the UK, due to recent waves of migration and political repressions in their home countries. Many, if not all, of these new migrants suffer from the impacts of tear gas exposure in the face of social injustice and inequality from the Mexico–United States border crisis, the Chilean protests to the Black Lives Matter Movement and the democratic social movements in Hong Kong.
What many are unaware of is that the UK is a major global exporter and producer of tear gas to other countries, however due to a cloudy export system, nobody knows the true value of these export deals. The UK does not grant licences to sell tear gas to certain countries ‘if there is a clear risk the items might be used for internal repression’, however, a number of sales licences have been approved following known reports of tear gas used for just that.
Tear gas and its traumatic legacy play a crucial role in the politics of oppression, domination and violence. These stories carried into the UK with these new communities of diaspora groups that lack the attention that they deserve.
‘Out of Breath’ is an ongoing project running through 2022 to 2025.
We continue to look for partnerships and collaboration with research institutes, arts and cultural organisations, presentation venues, and independent creatives and investigators.
If you are interested in a conversation with us relating to the topic, please do not hesitate to contact us through email@example.com.