Haseeb Ahmed’s light and sound installation Ruach not Rauch takes as its theme the ventilation system of the Mausoleum in the Georgium and also the ruins of a wind tunnel on the site of the former Junkers aviation plant. For the artist, it is the element air which provides the ethereal connection between these two historic sites. The Mausoleum’s ventilation system – for which Junkers supplied a heating unit – served to preserve mortal remains, to sustain the past. In 1936, wind tunnel aerodynamic simulations, following the expropriation of Hugo Junkers’ assets by the Nazis, paved the way towards total war – the obliteration of all life.
In Hebrew Ruach means wind, breath, spirit. In the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, the term often denotes the breath or actions of God. Ventilation shaft and wind tunnel, the bygone commemoration of the dead and the war fever of the past: all are re-awakened by Ruach not Rauch, laying bare their fractured, multilayered narratives.
Werkleitz Festival 2019 - Modell und Ruine, Dessau-Roßlau