bless our breath


bless our breath is a deck of playing cards that facilitate conversation, reflection, and creative process around breath, as both a theme and a practice organized in collaboration with gas. bless our breath is a deck of playing cards that facilitate conversation, reflection, and creative process around breath, as both a theme and a practice. Working with breath as an intimate medium for connection with ourselves, our communities, our ancestors, and the futures of our worlds, this deck of cards guides card-players through a range of ideas, questions, and prompts. The project honors the symbolic and practical implications of breath within this cultural and political moment of uprising and rupture: the intersections of the movement for Black liberation, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impacts of climate change resulting in mass wildfires and polluted air. While holding space for aggregated legacies of grief, the cards aim to build critically intimate, compassionate, honest, and resilient relationships with one’s self and others. 

bless our breath is initiated and designed by Kimi Hanauer and organized in collaboration with Gas. bless our breath is based on ideas and phrases generated through an online workshop including artists, writers, academics and organizers alea adigweme, Gordon Hall, Jovonna Jones, Malcom Peacock, Ceci Moss, Kimi Hanauer, and Alice Yuan Zhang in the summer of 2020. Each deck of cards is accompanied by a newsprint poster that features writing and quotes from bless our breath contributors. Alice Yuan Zhang created augmented reality filters accessible via Instagram that animate the cards in order to extend one’s intentional breath into our digital presence. Select cards are also freely available for download as lock screens for phones and tablets, integrating the card’s messages into the everyday. All sales of the deck will support two mutual aid programs focused on wellness, social justice, and food: the Hip Hop Smoothie Shop in Los Angeles, CA and the Eastlake United for Justice & Shao Shan Farm free meal initiative in Oakland, CA.

The set of cards can be used as a facilitation medium in a multiplicity of experimental ways to be defined by card players. The deck is divided into two series of cards: Building Blocks and Ascending Blocks. Building Blocks invite card-players to reflect on specific themes such as “Interdependence”, “Reciprocity”, and “Grief” as they relate to the futures of our worlds. Building Blocks provide anchors for reflecting on collective futures and possibilities, as well as ancestors, histories, and challenges. Ascending Blocks open up a space and project a destination. They create a path to breathe life into, directly inviting conversation, collective processing, and community-minded practice. They include questions such as, “How do we feel the earth breathe?”, “We are already ancestors. What are we laying the groundwork for?”, and “What does liberation feel like?”.

Download lock screens. Download PDF of the deck of cards and newsprint. Explore augmented reality filters by Alice Yuan Zhang. Learn more at Gas.