We don't know that we know -Strangelove syndrome*

2020

from series We don't know that we know

interactive site-specific installation

objects, drawings on glass windows and paper

archive of an artist and Hörmann Collection

I.

I cannot touch the past or the future with my hands. Of course, on the linguistic level, I can entirely cancel out time, exchange the past for the future and avoid the present. The fact remains, however, that physical reality will not let me escape the present moment – this neuralgic point, this claustrophobic spot which invokes my fears and depression. I do not know how to escape this point of oppression by power and knowledge. The education system instilled in me a way of thinking focused on success, profit, progress and speed. It taught me how to live without nature. How to be alienated.

II.

I observe my surroundings for some time, their contours obscured by a strange semi-liquid light-black substance, levitating in a peculiar manner and circling around me slowly. It clusters together into forms resembling thick running paint which tears apart in places, with translucent capillaries occurring along its torn edges. A narrow crevice has formed between me and the revolving substance. The air circulates through it. In my peripheral vision I perceive the flying air particles which seem to be pulsating, breathing in, visibly increasing their volume, then exhaling and vanishing away. When inhaling, they give out high-pitched squeaking sounds, sharply cut off in the moment of expiration. One particle in the lower left arc has not exhaled yet. All the other particles that emerged at approximately the same moment perished long ago. This one stays with the inhalation, changing into an elongated tube covered with hair, out of which rise the flames of a yellowy green substance, reminiscent of claws or oleander leaves. Veins gradually appear on its surface, changing into silver strips within a few seconds.

III.

Today scientists can transfer the memory of one mouse into the memory of another mouse. In the future human consciousness will be digitally recorded and man will thus become digitally immortal. Should this idea become a reality, it would mean that physical reality as a qualitative viewpoint would have no impact on our consciousness. I believe that it is the conscious and subconscious fear of a global environmental disaster that drives society to develop transhumanist visions which would offer an alternative of survival without nature, independent from natural resources and from physical reality. Trusting this vision of a “post-natural” future would mean continuing the modernist faith in progress, which would after all move us away from any other possible futures. The more people adopt faith in such a future, the more likely its fulfillment becomes.  

IV.

I try to step out of one long-lasting moment. I stretch my right leg in front of me while putting all of my weight on my left leg. At the moment at which I transfer my weight to the left side of my body, a dog which I had so far heard barking behind me stopped. I am frozen in a strange posture which at a first glance seems so unstable that any slowing down or stopping would be impossible under normal circumstances. Despite this, I have not moved even a centimeter ahead. I want to transfer my weight onto my right, forward foot, but I can’t. While trying to release myself from this position I am stuck in, I fix my gaze into the distance, where I notice several wavy curves crossing each other. They look like overgrown trees or intertwined letters of the alphabet. 

V.

Nature is like a text into which generations of all beings write their vision. The atoms which form matter connect in various combinations, like the letters of the alphabet creating words, sentences or absurd verbal assemblages. Atoms encode information. The basic elements of matter behave like signs, informing each other, choosing, eliminating and reflecting. Like humans, they both generate and absorb information and knowledge. Understanding is thus the ability to listen and translate the language of things. I have always resisted this type of knowledge. 

VI.

Aggressive particles of sound touch my toes. They push their way between them like dental floss between teeth. An unknown substance is absorbed into my body through the spaces between my toes. It settles on the inner wall of my organism, creating something like a cave painting depicting the irregular network of interconnected capillaries. Their clusters compose erratic geometric shapes filled with color. It looks like a children’s kaleidoscope. The color surfaces work like solar panels, absorbing radiation emitted by individual human organs. With each acoustic impact on my body, they start vibrating and the color composition changes.

VII.

Every cell, organ or organism has its own morphogenetic field.** The structures of these fields depend on events in the past. Thus it is the impact of my predecessors, of all of humankind from the first man until the present time, that forms my morphogenetic field. This morphogenetic field is a type of collective memory. Each member of a species is formed by it whilst also contributing to the formation of its future members. An incessant exchange of information takes place, known as morphic resonance. Alienation from nature keeps repeating due to the action of man, and the idea of a life without nature (post-natural life) is the outcome of a formative causality that takes place in our morphogenetic field. To avoid this option of the future requires a gradual change of resonance. That can be achieved by means of countless reiterations of other visions of the future, repeated until the causality of these relationships changes, thus steering the course of events in a different direction. In other words, such a change can be achieved by incessant multiple transmission of information about other possible futures.  

VIII.

I can’t feel my eyes at all. I can see things normally but without physically feeling my eyeballs. I touch them with my hands, pulling my lashes gently, yet my sensation of numbness is unchanged. A black surface appears sporadically before my eyes, only for a few milliseconds at a time, alternating with an image of a distant horizon, partially overlain with silver, rounded, interrupted bands. They probably form some kind of fence. One of the bands broke up and formed the letter V. I can also recognize the letters C, S and N on the horizon. Shreds of the colorful horizon stick out behind the letters.

IX.

I hope that the boundary of my biological body is not the boundary of my consciousness. The life of my consciousness does not depend on the life of my brain. I imagine consciousness as a complex entity, as an octopus interconnected with the consciousness of other beings, as a determinist rhizomatic structure which survives as some kind of frequency. I imagine it as the Horla phantom from Maupassant’s book, appearing in the shadows. Horla is translucent, yet he emits light. He exists and he does not exist. He is both present and absent. He is here and elsewhere. He is a strange and spectacular figure through which an infinite number of images flows and is reflected against. Horla stands in front of a mirror, capturing the images before the mirror itself absorbs and reflects them. He is a simulacrum. Information flows through him like through a translucent veil. 

X.

I hold in my hand a tree leaf I have just plucked from a tree, crumpling it between my fingers like paper. I am trying to insert the thin broken stalk under my thumbnail. When I finally succeed, I move the leaf close to my face. I look at it intently for a short while. When the tip of the faded leaf disappears in my left nostril, its stalk is still stuck underneath my nail. 

XI.

I had the opportunity to repeatedly meet my invisible double. I left my physical body, laid myself down along with him (along myself) and watched him (me) for a while. Fear accompanied the entire experience. I had no idea of the existence of the astral plane. At school I learned to disregard everything that eluded rational thought. Several years later I learned that the astral plane is a hidden dimension of being. And that it reflects  all of the psychophysical occurrences that take place in the perceivable environment. And that it is the energy source of all forms of life. It is the link between principles of things and things themselves. The astral plane is not a spatially localized land ; it is not a world that lies within the physical world. There is an astral dimension to each entity of physical being and mental events. My fear of climate catastrophe leads me to consider the possibility of a continuity of life in the astral dimension. 

XII.

I can feel a stinging pain under my thumbnail now. I gently rub the sore spot with my index finger. My eyes wander around until they stop on a window frame, speckled with a small wax rash. Several static overlapping images are projected onto the windowpanes. All the images are overlaid with a translucent object shaped like a gate or a triumphal arch. It has no mass; it is immaterial; it looks like a watercolor wash. It is the only moving object on the projection screen. It oscillates gently from left to right and back again like a metronome. When I move my head to the right while keeping the same point of view, another object appears in its close vicinity. It is shaped like a tower with a rectangular floor plan and a large portal which makes up two thirds of its frontal facade. There is a tree on the roof of the tower. Like smoke from a chimney, wild withered branches rise from the tree’s trunk, intersecting in various directions.

XIII.

Many believe in a technocratic solution to our environmental crisis – in the form of digital immortality, for example. Others flee to build bunkers in New Zealand which can supposedly ensure their survival in the event of any disaster. Yet another group consists of those who do not concern themselves with the future at all, ignoring all the warning signals and believing in the continuation of the present into the future. Then there are saviors, activists and bio and eco consumers who believe that even small changes can lead to big results. And finally, there are those who find their vision of the future outside physical reality. Those who try to connect with the invisible, hidden and secret fibers of reality. By reiterating its action in favor of this or that vision of the future, each group enhances the morphic resonance in a particular direction, thus influencing the perception of people in the future, as well as future events. It may well be that people who survive the disaster will grow a third eye again, making it possible for them to look back to the physical world from the astral plane. 

(Jaro Varga)

*Alien hand syndrome (AHS) or Dr. Strangelove syndrome is a category of conditions in which a person experiences their limbs acting seemingly on their own, without conscious control over the actions. There are a variety of clinical conditions that fall under this category, which most commonly affects the left hand. There are many similar terms for the various forms of the condition, but they are often used inappropriately. The afflicted person may sometimes reach for objects and manipulate them without wanting to do so, even to the point of having to use the controllable hand to restrain the alien hand.[5] While under normal circumstances, thought, as intent, and action can be assumed to be deeply mutually entangled, the occurrence of alien hand syndrome can be usefully conceptualized as a phenomenon reflecting a functional "disentanglement" between thought and action.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_hand_syndrome

**The Presence of the Past: morphic resonance and the habits of nature, New York, NY: Times Books, 1988. ISBN 0-8129-1666-2.