How to record the incommunicable?
Record of the experienced.
How to transfer this record back into an image?
A house as an enclosed meadow on which events take place.
That, which can never be verified, will forever be that, which remains.
To enter and to see.
Real history, never written event, a dead angle, a blind spot.
Discursus of a net.
Walter Benjamin experimented with opium, hashish and mescaline from the late 1920´s until the mid-1930´s and recorded his drug experience in the so-called protocols which were published only posthumously. The protocols provide a unique insight not only into the worlds opened by the experience of different reality but also under a different angle, into a set of concepts, which Benjamin consciously or unconsciously used in his philosophical work.
On May 22, 1934, during one of his last experiments with drugs, Benjamin´s friend Fritz Fränkel recorded the process of the experiment. Not only does he describe Benjamin´s impressions the same as the other protocols but he also provides the outer description of the process of taking the drug and records his following reactions. Philip James McFarland said in his book Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin in the Now-Time of History that
Fränkel´s empiric psychological approach is in contrast with the immediate boundless imagination which Benjamin´s descriptions more or less bring nearer. Fränkel himself arrives at two most powerful mental images that appear in Benjamin´s visions that particular day: a net and the so-called Förster-Haus, a school, a brothel and hell in one, in which the tested subject is physically present and in which he mentally meets another philosopher – Friedrich Nietzsche.
„A discursus of a net. B offers a variation of the seemingly insignificant question of Hamlet – to be or not to be: a web or a coat, this is the question. He explains that the web represents the night side and everything in our lives that makes us excited. „Excitement is the shadow of a web on the body. In excitement the body imitates the web. This explanation was connected with the shaking of the body of the tested subject.“ Fritz Fränkel
The described situation may be seen from several angles. As a proof of a unique trip beyond the border of everyday reality, undertaken and precisely described decades before similar experiences became a popular way of gaining cognition. As an experiment with broadened consciousness and simultaneously an exemplary evidence of the paradox of the elusiveness of an experience, evidence of both the weakness and strength of the human body. And above all as a unique means of walking in different spaces despite time, the eternal wandering of a mental image which has no borders and connects the unconnectable, as a means of interpersonal, interexistential and interplanetary communication. The resulting work is another transcription of Benjamin´s experiences, a secondary reproduction which does not aim at evoking perfectly the experienced but rather to reflect the transfer process of the invisible and its elusiveness and the layers brought forth by the initial situation.
Collaboration: Jan Rousek
Acting: Richard Němec
Acknowledgments: Petr Mikšíček
This project has been supported by Artyčok.TV on the basis of an open call for a new audio-visual work in 2016, category for students.