Suzanne Treister



Angelique van Engelen, 15 Questions about Hexen 2039, March 2007


AvE: What is your background as an artist?

I was born in London from a mixed (British and Polish Jewish) marriage. I studied painting originally. In the 80s I was making what you could call history paintings. In 1991 I began working on computers and in other media. In my work I was always interested in history, culture, politics and war. I have travelled a lot and lived in Australia, New York and Berlin. I am now based in London. In 1995 I started working on a project about the life and research of an heteronymic identity who worked in the future for a military Institute, the Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality. I was also the founder member of three collaborative groups, NIH, PI and ICOLS. See:

AvE: What extensions are you going to make to the Hexen Project?

ST: I am working on ideas for HEXEN II the movie. At the moment I am considering inviting a neuro-scientist to take part, and perhaps there will be some occult scenes involving Dr John Dee and the Wizard of Oz. It will be very different from HEXEN I. As yet I don’t have plans for more drawings although I am working on a side project related to the remote viewing drawings where I am inviting people to commission me to remote view a site for them.

AvE: Are you going to write another book? If so, do you feel the writing is like a Harry Potter line of developments?

ST: The next planned book is titled 'NATO' and will contain reproductions of a series of watercolours I have been working on for several years which illustrate the NATO codification system. This project is not narrative in structure. Hexen 2039 was already the third of a series of research projects carried out by my heteronymic identity, Rosalind Brodsky, at the Institute. The first 'Golem/Loew - Artificial Life', traced the descendents of Rabbi Loew of Prague, creator of a golem, to test whether an ability and/or desire to create artificial life is a function carried in the DNA. The second, 'Operation Swanlake', harnessed the energy of a black hole located in the constellation Cygnus and with spare parts from a Soviet missile cruiser developed a spacecraft capable of communicating in the universe.

AvE: How did you get access to most of the military information? (I ran a search under Dames and related keywords and got nowhere). Do you have well-connected friends?

ST: I read a lot of books about historical relationships between the military and the occult, and about brainwashing, but some of the information is online. There are a lot of conspiracy theory websites so it's hard to get a balance on it all unless you go to more reliable historical sources. I do also have family involved in one aspect of the military and was able to procure several source images and props for the film.

AvE: For how long has the topic interested you/what made you decide to do this?

ST: All the topics in the project have been of interest to me for a long time. Hexen 2039 originally began as an investigation into histories of witchcraft on the part of the Institute. This soon developed into an investigation into the occult and inevitably, since the Institute has a military imperative and works in alliance with other organisations on a commission basis, it took up an offer from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to investigate and develop new forms of military-occult based technology for psychological warfare. i.e. the project organically developed through its own internal logic.

AvE: Do you think there should be openness about military issues?

ST: There's not much point saying there should as the nature of military research is generally by default secret. There are always people however who manage to infiltrate and one organisation in particular I recently encountered are developing counter technologies to possible outcomes of current known military brainwashing research potentialities.

AvE: Have people told you you were wrong on any topic at all? (Journalists get this the whole time who cover scoops).

ST: Some art writers have assumed most of the information in Hexen 2039 is invented (whereas all the data recorded in the project is actual, it is only a few of the links that are made which are, let's say, imaginative, and of course the fiction that this is an actual military research project itself). Other more informed viewers have substantiated various findings and offered further information.

AvE: What is your aim with the project - do you have any moral message?

ST: This has been a difficult issue throughout the project, the balance between complicity and criticality. I think ultimately this conflict becomes a part of the content of the work and transcends any idea of moral message.

AvE: Why did you experiment with the scrying stone.

ST: I wanted to make some remote viewing drawings and since I was at the same time carrying out investigations into the whereabouts of the John Dee scrying crystal (which had been removed from the Science Museum in London) I thought it would be interesting to conflate the two methodologies as they were both intrinsically connected within Hexen 2039 research programme.

AvE: Your reviewer writes that your military drawings using the scrying stone might be just as accurate as those made by the professionals. I can just believe that. What is your opinion?

ST: I believe so.

AvE: Have you tried to do any drawings that you could verify later?

ST: Yes but not on purpose. The first remote viewing drawing I made was of the floor plan of Aleister Crowley's house in Scotland before I could find an image. I verified later that in fact it had a similarly unusual structure. I am not sure about the veracity of other later drawings, many were unverifiable, but also this is not necessarily the issue, it's more about the idea that these phenomena are researched seriously by the military, and in that sense all this becomes a real part of the world, whether its 'true' or not, in a similar but quite different way to the 'belief' that Iraq was hiding WMDs, there is an effect.

AvE: Is the technique still in use in the military? Why (not)?

ST: Supposedly the US Remote Viewing Program was publically decommissioned by the CIA in 1995. Some people suspect that this was not actually the case and that the program continues in some form. Some of the remote viewers however are working in the private sector and may receive government commissions.

AvE: Do you think it is immoral?

ST: If the results were taken seriously without any other intelligence information sources and people were injured or killed as a result then yes. But from what one can tell, remote viewing was/is never used as a stand-alone technology.

AvE: Do you know of businesses that employ remote viewing?

ST: PSITECH Corporation, it's online at

AvE: What reactions have you had?

ST: Generally people are fascinated and excited by the work, especially the drawings, but as I said above they often assume it's all a fiction. Other more informed viewers have had really brilliant responses, particularly David Barrett in Art Monthly where he wrote: "...not only a conspiracy of meaning itself but also deliberately reveals itself to be so. It's a smoke and mirror intellectual maze. HEXEN 2039 is a sustained fantasy for the online age…Artistically it connects with the epic, paranoiac sweep of Thomas Pynchon's novels, in particular Gravity's Rainbow, which utilises some of the same historical references and shares Treister's intention: to explore the limits of rationalism...Perhaps the project should come with a health warning."


online articles derived from the interview by Angelique van Engelen:



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