RealTime issue 35, Feb 2000, Sydney, Australia

 

 

 

                        TIME TRAVEL IS YOUR ONLY MEANS OF ESCAPE

 

                                           Joni Taylor

 

                       Rosalind Brodsky could very well be the alter ego of artist Suzanne

                       Treister who bears strange similarities to this time travelling scientist,

                       tracing her European Jewish ancestry while still engaging in a plethora of

                       eccentric occupations and activities. These change from psychoanalytical

                       sessions with deceased therapists to preparing traditional German dishes,

                       to performing in her psychedelic rock band, to developing a range of

                       designer vibrators. The recommended viewing time for this CD-ROM is

                       3 hours, the amount of time necessary to fully explore and participate in

                       her time travelling tales.

 

                       The date is 2058, the year of Brodsky’s death and the setting is the

                       Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality, where

                       Brodsky conducted her research and still lingers. The virtual space is

                       more digital collage than animation. Brightly coloured juxtapositions of

                       furniture, wall hangings and retro sci-fi machines. As in a computer

                       game simulation, you travel through the space by a few clicks of the

                       mouse. Like a virtual tour there are characteristics such as a map, a guide

                       and various info areas. Once in Brodsky’s study you can time travel to

                       her home in Bavaria, modelled on Koningssschlos Neuschwanstein, the

                       original home of the “mad” King Ludwig, and more recently to neo-Nazi

                       squatters. There are also options to explore her diary, or go down a level

                       to the clinics where Brodsky regularly received counselling by Freud,

                       Jung, Klein, Lacan and Kristeva. Inside the institute you are informed

                       by the Introscan TV Corporation that a group of armed academics are

                       demonstrating outside, and time travel is the only means of escape. As in

                       The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the closet leads on to

                       other destinations, not Narnia, but the very 20th century cultures of the

                       Russian Revolution, the Holocaust and swinging 60s London.

 

                       A quicktime movie shows a haunting dual image of the train tracks

                       leading to Auschwitz. A recurring theme is Brodsky’s attempts to rescue

                       her grandparents from World War 2. She is the silver clad futuristic

                       time-traveller, superimposed over black and white footage of war-torn

                       Europe. At other times she is part of a Monty Python-esque collage,

                       posing next to key figures from cult films such as Norman Bates and

                       Mary Poppins. Also in the wardrobe are Brodsky’s attache cases. In

                       order to fund her projects, Brodsky appears to have developed a range of

                       designer vibrators. These range from the architectural variety, such as

                       the Kremlin and the “double sided” London Bridge, to key political

                       figures like Marx and Lenin and pop culture icons Emma Peel and David

                       Bowie. By clicking on the speech bubble, each sex aid literally “speaks”

                       for itself. Sexy science seems to be the name of the game and food is a

                       constant delight on the journey.

 

                       Some startling new developments have enabled the Nutragenetica

                       Corporation to begin harvesting chicken legs on human torsos, and

                       Brodsky, like any traditional Jewish hostess, seems right at home with

                       these new condiments. A TV in the bedroom plays snippets from her

                       cooking show, as well as the music videos Brodsky made with her

                       band, Rosalind Brodsky and the Satellites of Lvov. The remake of Lou

                       Reed’s Satellite of Lvov is a trippy track involving sci-fi theremin

                       sounds and Glam rock beats. It regularly comes bleeping through the

                       castle corridors.

 

                       Travelling further, you become familiar with the interactive vocabulary

                       of Brodsky’s creation. Big buttons need to be pushed, cursor “R” turns

                       to cursor “B” at select moments, rollovers light up and footstep sounds

                       signify you’ve arrived.

 

                       When the final destination is reached— satellite probe (a Christo

                       wrapped Reichstag)—it appears that Brodsky in her old age transformed

                       most of her archival research into a painting game, a virtual kinetic

                       colouring-in book, where multiplying vibrators can be placed over

                       varying backgrounds, such as Mars and Shinjuiku, Tokyo. It gets more

                       bizarre as the final choice on the tour is to return to the Castle music

                       room, and play some more, or get dropped off in the Australian mining

                       town of Coober Pedy!

 

                       Despite the idea of transcending time, the work has a set narrative with

                       pre-determined choices and specific geographical locations that lead onto

                       the next stage. At one point, Brodsky describes herself as a “necrophiliac

                       invader of spaces containing the deaths of her ancestors, through the

                       privileged violence of technology.” Using this violence of technology,

                       Treister has enabled us to invade many facets of her anthropological

                       history. And what a ride it is.

 

                       No other symptoms: Time Travelling with Rosalind Brodsky, Suzanne

                       Treister, Black Dog Publishing Limited, UK. For more

                       information email info@bdp.demon.co.uk

 

 

 

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