Suzanne Treister Rosalind Brodsky in her Electronic Time Travelling Costume to rescue her Grandparents from the Holocaust ends up mistakenly on the set of Schindlers List, Krakow , Poland, 1994
70 x 50 cm
suzanne treister, frieze magazine, issue 105 march 2007
by jonathan griffin
One theory has it that anyone can trace a connection to anyone else on the planet by no more than six degrees of separation. Depending on how you look at it, this can either be taken as proof of the comfortingly small world in which we live or give a vertiginous view of the infinitely overlapping networks of people and places that, in our understanding of the world, we struggle to keep separate. If everyone (and everything) can be so easily interlinked, an active imagination can quickly trace lines of causality that play fast and loose with orthodox historical narratives, finding conspiracy and shadowy sub-plots where previously there was only coincidence.
One such imagination belongs to Rosalind Brodsky, who believes herself to be a time-travelling researcher employed by IMATI, the Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality. Another belongs to the artist Suzanne Treister, who invented Brodsky as her flamboyant alter ego in 1995 and whose latest project, 'Hexen 2039', comprises an exhibition, a website, a book, a film and interventions within the collections of existing institutions. The bulk of the project exists as series of drawings, which, along with a display case of associated ephemera, were displayed in CHELSEA Space gallery (moving to New Art Gallery Walsall this Spring). These works sought ostensibly to demonstrate Brodsky's belief in the involvement of military intelligence and the entertainment industry in the murky world of the occult.
To give one example (a full account of Brodsky's elaborate web of cross-references would fill pages), she notes that the US Military Academy at West Point provided the set for the witch's tower scene in The Wizard of Oz (1939), accompanied by composer Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain (1867) and released by MGM on the eve of World War II. The same piece of music was also used a year later for a sequence in Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940) featuring a creature called the Chernabog, originally a Slavic black god of death, who lent his name to the Ukrainian town of Chernobyl. Mussorgsky's bald mountain is in fact Mount Triglav in Slovenia, which, according to pagan tradition, is the gathering place of Satan and his followers. Did I mention that Samuel Goldwyn of MGM was suspected, along with much of the Hollywood film industry, of involvement with Aleister Crowley's occult group the Ordo Templi Orientis? According to Brodsky, so too were the US and British intelligence services.