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Pneuma

Sinop Biennial, Turkey, 2008
Installation in the vicinity of the former youth prison of Sinop.
Participatory Project with the involvement of Sinop’s citizens.

The word pneuma, which is derived from Greek means spirit, breath, moving air, is a human capacity as well as a cosmological principle. The literal meaning of pneuma is an imaginary materialized body of moving air. In his project PNEUMA, Stratmann relates in form and content to this meaning of the word. He installed plain white plastic bags in the yard and the window bars of the former youth prison. Due to the air stream that runs through and around the building, the bags seem to dance, creating the impression that building is breathing. The walls and prison bars of the former prison show a glimpse of the fate that the kids and teenagers, who were imprisoned here, lived through. What remains when the body is enclosed and deprived of its usual freedom? Does the mind remain free, even if the person is chained? If a human is in an isolated location, excluded from reflective conversations with others and completely without any social interaction, is the ability to mentally grow preserved? Are body and mind are dependent on one another? The artist attempts to answer these questions, in his two-part installation.
A poetic installation is shown in the prison yard, where ordinary plastic bags, that have the word THINK written on them in more than 60 languages, flutter in the wind. This white sea of flags shows the different approaches to and types of thinking, alone through the 60 variants of the word.
The second work is installed in the barred windows of the prison’s second floor. During Sinopale’s preparatory period, the artist asked the tourists and residents of Sinop about their thoughts and recorded these on shopping bags. These notes now represent the numerous unvoiced ideas that were produced in this nightmarish place and will remain unheard forever.
A book with initially blank plastic bags completed the installation in the former youth prison. Many visitors filled these pages with spontaneous emotional reactions and comments about the installation and the mood of the setting.