PNEUMA

Categories: performance, solitary and ethics.

Date: 2012
Place: Oxford Botanical Gardens, UK
Event: Parlour Garden, Curated by Jack Catling

Pneuma is the Ancient Greek word for breath from the root pneu – breath or wind. It is the elemental, natural and vital force in the blowing of the wind and the inhaling and exhaling of breath. It is the breath of the spirit that may be felt outwardly or inwardly and that can fill one with inspiration or grip one with enthusiasm. In stoic philosophy, pneuma is the breath of life – a mixture of the elements air (motion) and fire (warmth) and in its highest form it constitutes the human soul. In ancient Greek medicine, pneuma is the circulating air needed by the vital organs in order to function. It is also the material that sustains consciousness in the body. According to Diocles and Praxagoras, the psychic pneuma mediates between the heart and the brain.
Notes: The smoke rises, winding between my legs and passing over my whole body. Outstretched hands open into a funnel, a chimney. Thermal kinesis, acrid smoke burning skin. Sweat and tears blinding, heavy arms. Breathing quietly with a small tube that passes through the plastic, I open my lungs to the pure, fresh air from outside.

Images: Uma Bunnag and Tila Rodriguez