Past technology - future vision: Occult illusion and optical truth in the imaginary technology of Hexen 2039.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” (Clarke, Arthur C. Profiles of the Future (1973) Pan)
In 2006 Suzanne Treister mounted an exhibition entitled Hexen 2039 (). The show was presented simultaneously across five London venues, and included a wide variety of visual responses, ranging from photographs to “artefacts” , diagrams to films (figure 1). Treister clearly defined the wide remit of the show in which she sought to reveal the “links between conspiracy theories, occult groups, Chernobyl, witchcraft, the US film industry, British Intelligence agencies, Soviet brainwashing, behaviour control experiments of the US Army and recent practices of its Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (PSYOP), in light of alarming new research in contemporary neuroscience” ()
Thankfully for observers of the show, Hexen 2039 was also provided with an insightful subtitle which clarified the key themes of the show down into a single and relatively simple sentence; “new military-occult technologies for psychological warfare – a Rosalind Brodsky programme”. It is this subtitle which contains the vital clues to understanding Treister's Hexen 2039, which in essence is a work that appears to undertake an investigation of historical occult/military relationships, in order to consider the implications (both real and imagined) that this pairing could have on technological progress in the future. ()
Above: Suzanne TreisterRemote viewing drawing/Magic Room,
Hungarian State Interrogation Centre, 1937.
Below: Suzanne Treister Hexen 2039 (detail) Artefacts.
Suzanne Treister Hexen 2039 (detail)