When Treister mounted Hexen 2039 she claimed to the viewer that the aim of the exhibition was to collate information relating to occult-miltary technology in order to develop a futuristic mind-alteration device. Treister approached this topic by intertwining visual imagery from a number of historical time-frames, through the eyes of her time travelling alter-ego, Rosalind Brodsky. Through the adoption of imagery and information lifted from a wide variety of different time-epochs, Treister frees herself from chronological time, resulting in a bridging effect between historical and contemporary discourses relating to new and emerging technologies. As a result it possible to see Hexen, as drawing parallels between contemporary paranoia relating to futuristic-technologies of state surveillance, and historical concerns that associated new technologies with the control of mysterious occult forces. Due to historical concerns surrounding objectivity and the visual image, Treister is also able to intertwine contemporary and historical research in such a way as to blur the boundaries between genuine, truthful research and invented elements. This process is carried out to such an extent that the viewer is likely to increasingly experience a sense of “slippage” which turns out to be a fundamental element of Hexen 2039. It has been said that “fake painting falsifies the history of art, whereas a fake photograph falsifies reality” 1 and it seems that Treister's central aim in Hexen 2039 is not so much to investigate military occult powers, but rather to collate information, and manipulate it in such a way as to bring our ability to perceive the truth into question.
Top to Bottom: Sam Goldwyn and Ernest Haycox
(late 1940's). Photographer unknown.
Chernobyl 3-core (c. 2000). Photographer unknown.