The Handeye & The Eyehand

16mm | 7 min | b/w | 2012
 

 

In early 20th century Vienna Robert Musil invited Sigmund Freud to partake in, what he called, “a very special séance”. Seated at the table Musil revealed that they were going to summon the ghost of Franz Anton Mesmer, discoverer of animal magnetism and forefather of hypnosis. Musil told Freud about a series of dreams he had which involved a talking flea. Musil, who had secretly become a follower of the imaginationist school of animal magnetism wanted to question Mesmer as to the meaning of these dreams, in which said flea foretold of impending catastrophes all over Europe. It is said that Mesmer obligingly appeared and spoke in a repetitive and oblique manner. Mesmer’s words were transcribed by Freud in several scraps of paper and hidden separately in a series of objects that, owing to the vicissitudes of history, would end up in the collections of three Viennese museums. Legend has it that he who could piece together the text would find instructions for the assembly of a film.

 

We visited these museums and, unable to break away the objects from their glass prisons, have made an attempt to reconstruct the film, hoping that the magnetic force inside the objects would transfer to the film’s silver halide crystals, therefore allowing us to make sense of the single written testimony left over from the séance. In her diary, as the lone entry for that date, Eugenie Schwarzwald, the only other known participant, wrote: “A distinguished flea hypnotizes the ghost of a distinguished man.”

 

Screenings:

Independent Film Show, Museo Nitsch; Naples, Italy 2017
FAR OFF art fair; Cologne, Germany 2017
Close-Up Film Centre; London, UK 2017
Frame Bursting, Sign; Groningen, Netherlands 2017
Cine Esquema Novo; Porto Alegre, Brazil 2016
Canon Masterclass, International Film Festival Rotterdam; Rotterdam, Netherlands 2016
Independent Film Show, Museo Nitsch; Naples, Italy 2015
Iris Film Collective; Vancouver, Canada 2015
Crossroads; San Francisco, USA 2015
Otis College; Los Angeles, USA 2015
52nd Ann Arbor 16mm Tour Program, Hampshire College; Amherst, USA 2015
52nd Ann Arbor 16mm Tour Program, Cinémathèque Québécoise, Canada 2015
52nd Ann Arbor 16mm Tour Program, Pupille – Kino an der Uni; Frankfurt, Germany 2015
Slamdance Film Festival; Park City, USA 2015
52nd Ann Arbor 16mm Tour Program, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; Detroit, USA 2014
52nd Ann Arbor 16mm Tour Program, Sight Unseen; Baltimore, USA 2014
Wilde Nacht des Wilden Films, Ausland; Berlin, Germany 2014
52nd Ann Arbor 16mm Tour Program, Union Docs; New York, USA 2014
52nd Ann Arbor 16mm Tour Program, UWM Union Theater; Milwaukee, USA 2014
52nd Ann Arbor 16mm Tour Program, The Nightingale; Chicago, USA 2014
The Bleeping Light: Explorative sensoriums in experimental film & video, Off the Page Festival; Bristol, UK 2014
Tulsa Overground Film & Music Festival; Tulsa, USA 2014
Microlights at The Great Poor Farm Experiment VI; Manawa, USA 2014
BASEMENT Media Fest; New York, USA 2014
EFFPortland; Portland, USA 2014
The Improbable Made Possible: Farewell from a Dying Star, Anthology Film Archives; New York, USA 2014
Exploded View; Tucson, USA 2014
Ann Arbor Film Festival; Ann Arbor, USA 2014
Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival; Hawick, UK 2014
Chicago Underground Film Festival; Chicago, USA 2014
Reflets du Cinéma Allemand; Mayenne, France 2014
Visions; Montreal, Canada 2014
LIFT Artists-in-Residence Screening; Toronto, Canada 2014
Flex Fest; Gainesville, USA 2014
Diffraktion; Berlin, Germany 2014
Dresdner Schmalfilmtage; Dresden, Germany 2014 – Jury Prize
MassArt Film Society; Boston, USA 2013
Millennium Film Workshop; New York, USA 2013
The Red Room; Baltimore, USA 2013
Bright Lights Film Series; Boston, USA 2013
Alternative Measures; Colorado Springs, USA 2013
Cork Film Festival; Cork, Ireland 2013
Vermont International Film Festival; Burlington, USA 2013
Antimatter; Victoria, BC, Canada 2013
Lucca Film Festival; Lucca, Italy 2013
Directors Lounge; Berlin, Germany 2013
WNDX; Winnipeg, Canada 2013
La Ghetto IV; Barcelona, Spain 2013
Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival; Vila do Conde, Portugal 2013
Edinburgh International Film Festival; Edinburgh, UK 2013
Haverhill Experimental Film Festival; Haverhill, USA 2013 – 2nd Prize
Australian Experimental Film Festival; Melbourne, Australia 2013
$100 Film Festival; Calgary, Canada 2013
Frames Per Second Series: Secrets, PLUG Projects; Kansas, USA 2012
Alternative Film Video Festival; Belgrade, Serbia 2012

 

 

The Eyehand

2x 16mm | 6 min | b/w | 2012

 

 

A large double-sided mirror was placed in front of a 16mm camera. The camera shot a series of portraits of people looking at their own reflections. The film was processed on that same day and projected the next day to one or two people. The people watching the projection were filmed while watching. Sometimes the person watching the film was the same person that was filmed in front of the mirror. The entire process was repeated in Mexicoplatz and Volkertmarkt in Vienna. The film consists of Viennese people watching themselves being watched.

 

 

This project was part of the LaborBerlin contribution to the INTO THE CITY Program during the Wiener Festwochen. The film was hand developed at the Filmkoop Wien.