Verdrängung– not so happily translated by the word repression – is one ofAustria’s prime raw materials. Austrians live with it and have sometimesmade it their cultural habit: it is part of the political, cultural, and sexualrepressed and its manifold returns.
Withthe advent of the Euro as the new currency for a nascent European unity theAustrian Schilling has ended its existence. With this change millions of 50 ATSbills have disappeared and, with this blue paper, the portrait of SigmundFreud. Interestingly enough the majority of Austrians never knew that they hadSigmund Freud portraits in their pockets and in their hands on a daily basis. Imyself lived in Austria for 25 years but only realized 8 months before theintroduction of the Euro that Freud was depicted on the 50 ATS-banknote.
Becauseof Freud’s importance for dream analysis I have converted my frequent andvivid dream work into works on paper entitled “Die letzten Tage derSigmund Freud Banknote” (The Last Days of the Sigmund Freud Banknote).These works consist of the Sigmund Freud 50 ATS Banknote added to the papercontaining the pencil scribbles of my dream experiences. With the help ofa computer I print onto thesepapers the dreams including some comments and provide other data: the dailyvalue of the 50 ATS banknote in different currencies received by CNN’smoney converter, the daily value of the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq as well as thenumber of Freud books on sale on line by Amazon.com and Buecher.de. The dateand place of the dream are also given.
Thelanguage of the dream transcription is German, English or both. I startedwriting down my dreams in August 2001 and will end it on February 28thwhen the Schilling is no longer legal tender in Austria. For this exhibitionover one hundred mostly English written dreams have been selected. About 50predominantly German written dreams are not included. My English is not editedand contains mistakes and linguistic irregularities as it is often common fornon-native writers.
Withthis work I have learned a bit more about myself. Amidst many other things, Iwas quite surprised to see to what extent my native country, which I left morethen 15 years ago has been prominent in my dream geography. My dream world isalso affected by the terror of September 11, the anthrax attacks, the War onTerrorism, and of course by my personal life and my professional concerns. Ionly write down the dream content as far as I remember and give some partialinformation on the dream context. I don’t offer linear or non-linearinterpretations and fixed meanings. Many of my (often pathetic, embarrassing,paranoid and nightmarish) dreams have taught me how the political isintertwined with the personal and vice versa.
Theexhibition is complemented with an “E-mail error” drawing using ae-mail I sent in the morning of 9/11 and a series of short videos. Bicycle,2001 shows me circling amidst full traffic on a Manhattan intersection with mygirl friend sitting on the front wheel. The circular scene is filmed from abovewith long shadows. The bicycle and my girl friend are prominent protagonists inmy dreams. Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 2001; The Ego and the Id,2002; The Interpretation of Dreams, 2002; and Discontent in Culture,2002 are a series of short videos in which I kick the respective books of thegiven title in different environments until they fall apart. This crude versionof treating a book should also be reminiscent of what the Nazis did to thebooks of Freud in the 1930s. Given my sincere interest in psychoanalysis and mystudies of Freud I can exceptionally justify the material abuse of these booksfor the making of these videos in order to highlight the titles of the booksand to complement my dream work. The mistreated books are part of each video. Nightvision, 2001 is a short video filmed with a technology that first becameprominent in military night combat and is now used in peaceful technology. Withlittle light source, it shows the lose packing material with which the camerawas delivered to me making interesting subtle noises by falling into the boxtranslating into oniric qualities.
Lookingat these works through the lens of quantification and subsistence this dreamwork adds some self-awareness and hopefully some new pages to my personalhistory of conceptual art, dreams, love, writing, money, loss, pain andpsychological survival.