The video installation Pneumatrix (2016) was exhibited in Košice one year prior to a car accident that had a crucial transformational meaning for Erik Binder. As a borderline experience between life and death it split his life and artistic programme into the time before and the time after. The topic of the unsustainable consumerism of the society related to refusal of personal insatiability of pleasures is a background of an audiovisual contemplation on a cleansing journey of a human freed from materialistic pleasures. Three figures – three human ages – interpret the awareness of the passage of time in a single moment.
In the stoic philosophy, pneuma (πνεῦμα) was a concept of the breath of life, a blend of the elements of air and fire as an active generative principle which stands behind both an individual and the cosmos and gives mass its shape and characteristics. In its highest form, pneuma constitutes a human soul (psyché).
Another topic of the artworks is the parallel virtual world of the Matrix in the eponymous American film. There it is only a tool for maintaining life in imprisoned human (and dehumanised) beings. Their bodies stimulated by live dreaming in simulacrum illusion are parts of the industry of extraction of energy used for the operation of machines that rule over mankind. Let us recall the brilliant and unmerciful criticism of humankind and evolution presented by the supercomputer GOLEM XIV in the novel by Stanisław Lem already in 1981. “I think that you will enter the era of metamorphosis, that you will decide to discard your whole history, the entire heritage, the rest of the natural humanity the image of which, hugely magnified by beautiful tragedy, is concentrated in the mirrors of your faiths – and so, that you will step forward, because there is no other way – and that in what is now only a jump into an abyss you will see a challenge, if not even beauty, and yet, you will retain your acting – because repudiating a human means saving a human.” Liberation from the Matrix and learning the truth is painful, requires a radical change, belief in intuition and following signs. In Binder’s Pneumatrix, it is a child tearing down the old rules inside the human, who is renatus in novam infantiam (born into new childhood).
For the exhibition, we have chosen an effigy of a man – one of Binder‘s avatars, who took part in this year‘s JAMA journey and we have recorded his steps and whereabouts, according to the wish of the artist.