Part I - Streaming Media Trail
"...it was as if I had known all along
what was really happening
or as if I should have known all along
what was happening."
"Something about it (the layout? the way the tables
were arranged in relationship to the doors and the window?)
was vaguely familiar."
On a cold morning in early spring, in the pages of Heinrich Mann's
autobiography, Gwen, a writer, and Gunter, a video artist born in Germany,
find a poem written by his grandmother in Nürnberg in 1933.
Disconcerting echoes -- of the meeting of his grandparents that
this poem describes with their own meeting in Nürnberg, the site of the
post-war trials of Nazi scientists -- set Gunter and Gwen on a harrowing
"As he spoke, as if it was a reflex,
controlled by some outside force,
my hand hit my cup of coffee.
Coffee spilled all over the table."
Painter Dorothy Abrona McCrae and her husband, curator Sid Seibelman,
visit Gunter and Gwen. The stories of artists, whose work has been suppressed;
the disclosure of covert intelligence agency surveillance of exiled artists;
are subtexts to a series of conversations about the convergence of artworks
and family histories.
it almost seemed that he already knew who our visitors were
and why they were here
or where we had gone and what we had done."
On a beach on the California coast, unnatural weather changes
and repetitive thoughts intertwine with Gwen's memories of the stories
her father told her about what it was like to be a soldier in the D-Day invasion,
and with Gunter's reaction to his discovery of the surveillance of his family.
"a covert system of controlling human relationships.
Using suggestion, psychodrama, technology-mediated behavior control"
A conversation with Harle, a reporter who is tracking the existence of a secret Government
program of eugenic control of human relationships, causes Gwen to look more closely
at the break-up of her first marriage.
Canto Five: Interlude - At Home with Family
"The white wine was very good.
I sipped it slowly, remembering the Rhine River,
flowing past hillsides terraced with vineyards."
A visit from Gunter's father Sebastian -- whose own father,
a labor organizer, disappeared in Germany after Hitler came to power --
brings family together in an atmosphere of growing awareness of the
role of family histories in a system of covert persecution.
"'Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field...'
The words of the Bible
that Masaccio's painting had brought to mind."
"And a flaming sword which turned every way..."
"Durer's Gothic woodcuts of St. John's vision," Sebastian said in English.
"The double-edged sword. It is not my vision of justice."
On the steps of the auditorium where Chicano artist Archie is about
to present a performance, artists who perished are remembered:
Jamaican American sculptor Michael Richards, who was killed in his studio
near the top of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001;
poet Pedro Pietri who was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam
and died in 2004 of cancer; actress Carole Lombard whose plane crashed
in January, 1942. She has just sold a record number of war bonds
and was on her way home.
Canto Seven: Images of Exploding Spaceships
"As if he had been hit by an invisible force,
Archie's leg crumpled under him, and he fell to the ground.
He got up slowly, in obvious pain.
Images of exploding spaceships -- the Challenger, the Columbia --
were projected on his body. "
In his performance, Archie intersperses the deaths of artists and musicians
with documentation of how Nazi scientists were brought to this country
to run our space program; how the FBI spied on artists and musicians;
how the CIA fostered a climate of drug abuse.
"'It was a newspaper article about a psycho-technology detention camp
to be located in an abandoned Nike Center. At this place, young people
would be forcibly reprogrammed to induce 'good behavior'".
After the performance, in the cabin on a cold evening, Gunter, Gwen, and Sebastian
talk about the impact of so-called "non-lethal weapons" on civilian populations
-- about brain wave interference technologies, about the mounting evidence
that they are themselves under electro-surveillance.
"I am pretty sure that there is a consistent pattern
of interference and disruption of your work.
You are not imagining it."
Gunter and Gwen join other artists at Dorothy and Sid's home in Silver Beach.
Sid speaks of his experiences in putting together the exhibition.
How he has felt under pressure not to include certain artists;
how many of the artists he has visited have experienced
patterns of harassment in their lives.
"I want to talk to you about what I have referred to
as 'fingerprinting' -- a kind of obsession with certain names and dates
that frames some of the things that have been done to us," Sid began.
"I do not know whether these fingerprints are misleading or revealing.
But their presence suggests that the occurrences so marked
are not accidents as they are meant to appear
but rather are instigated --
by which I mean that there are unseen voyeurs pulling strings,
so to speak,
to make these things happen."
Sid details interference with the work and lives of artists: the deaths of
artists, intelligence agency surveillance and the planting of objects
in the environment of artists -- objects that are later depicted in their work.
Interlude: Dorothy on the Western Front
"The damn war was never over, was it?"
83 year old painter Dorothy Abrona McCrae, whose first husband was killed
on the Pacific front in World War II, speaks of the threatening environment
into which she and her husband Sid are thrust when Sid begins to curate a show
of California artists whose work has been consistently overlooked.
Intrusive memories of past wars; intelligence agency shadow governments;
and a gathering of heroes, who have confronted persecution and injustice,
are underlying themes as Dorothy describes the painting she herself is creating
for the exhibition.
A Gathering of Artists
"....how surveillance of entire populations--
what people do in private; personal information about them --
can be used to turn our lives into a kind of reality TV.
A game. For the people who run these systems"
"'How did your Mother get that scar?' Some unseen interrogator
was whispering questions inside my head. I did not want to respond
but the question was compelling.
In the early morning of the day of the exhibition, Gwen remembers a
series of accidents that happened to her family.
Dorothy and Sid: Duet
"Virtual Imprisonment. The lengths they go to stop me from going places
is incredible." scibe said. "It is as if not being able to legally jail artists
the way Congress did with the Hollywood Ten, they have devised ways
to put artists under what amounts to virtual house arrest.
The disabling accidents are just one part of this system."
As the exhibition opens, Dorothy and Sid contemplate some of the works
in the gallery: a painting of Pete Seeger testifying at The House Committee
on Un-American Activities; a video of Defense Department dirty tricks disguised
as research; and a sculpture by a Japanese American artist
that depicts a ceramic map of Japan:
"Approaching it, suspended from invisible guy wires
are two B29 bombers: the Enola Gay and the Bockscar.
In the sculpture, the airplanes are suspended in time,
as if the terrible destruction that ensued might not have happened."
A Gathering of Artists
"...if you look at the history of classical musicians,
it is clear that it is not their lifestyle that has caused the accidents to musicians.
That is a convenient excuse for covert attacks.
George Frideric Handel, badly injured in a carriage accident in the Netherlands.
Maurice Ravel. Like Handel, he found it difficult to work
after he was severely injured in an automobile accident,
and he died after unsuccessful surgery.
The early deaths of Mozart, Vivaldi, Mahler, Bizet , Chopin,
Schubert, and Mendelssohn, to name just a few. It is not a coincidence..."
As people begin to arrive at the gallery for the opening of the exhibition,
a series of conversations begin about the accidents and premature deaths of
Glen Miller; Patsy Cline, who bore the scars from a near fatal car crash a few
years earlier and was only 30 years old when she died in a plane crash ;
Otis Redding; Duane Allman; Nico; Jim Croce; Richard Farina, and many others.
How the plane that carried actor/director Leslie Howard and Jewish activist
Wilfred Israel was shot down by a squadron of Junkers 88s because British Intelligence
did not want to reveal that they had cracked the German codes.
At the gallery entrance, a map -- on which lanterns are slowly lit around the world --
provides a symbolic counterpoint of nonviolent action.
Interlude: ubicomp and time
"The legendary computer scientist Gary Kildall,
inventor of the CP/M operating system,
whose work was instrumental in the development of personal computers.
He died on July 11, 1994 from an accident that resulted in a brain hemorrhage.
He was only 52".
A conversations with Jeff, a semiconductor engineer from Silicon Valley,
centers on the early deaths of scientists, engineers, and technocreators.
A Theater of Our Lives
"The nude photographs they took of every incoming student
at certain Ivy League schools -- Harvard, Radcliffe, Vassar, Yale.
The suggestion that the collection of these bizarre photographs
might have been a part of a eugenics-based matchmaking system."
Social engineering and evidence of covert mind-body control on animals
and humans is disclosed in a series of conversations.
Gwen and scibe talk about scibe's perception of being immersed in a game.
Rule of R&D
"But afterwards the scientists and institutions
who had experimented on human beings without their consent
continued to receive Government funding.
They continued to be eligible for Government funding
after conducting lethal experiments on human beings without their consent."
The reporter Harle, talks about his research on the neo-eugenics
implications of Department of Defense experiments on humans --
how children with disabilities, African American men and women,
and the men and women in our Armed Services were experimented on
without their consent; how Congress tabled a law proposed by Senator
John Glenn that would have protected human experimentation victims.
Photographs of Coventry and Dresden
"And now in Alaska, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force
have appropriated the musical instrument of the Angels."
Beneath photographs of the destruction of Coventry and Dresden,
Sebastian, Sid, Gwen, and Gunter confront the wanton destruction
of Total Warfare -- the bombing of Coventry, the bombing of Dresden,
Sherman's March through Georgia, the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Musicians and Dancers
"The musicians were playing a composition of contingent instrumental solos.
What I mean is that like a work of hyperfiction, there was a main body of sound
from which solo trails emerged and returned.
That the dance had been carefully choreographed in relation to the score
was apparent from the relationship of the music to the motion
and the way in which the work cohered as a whole. "
The lives and work of dancers are presented in a collaborative work.
The Actions of Disclosure
"A series of other newspaper clippings from the 1970's to the present
were rapidly projected on the gallery wall.
Glowing black and white newsprint, dominating the wall behind Archie.
One after another, they documented illegal CIA operations."
The exhibition concludes with Archie's performance
in which systems of covert surveillance and harassment
are identified and then symbolically discarded.