DREAM CONTROL WHEN FREEDOM ENDS
DREAM CONTROL WHEN FREEDOM ENDS
February 29, 2044
thanks to daniel f. galouye,
we cannot be sure if we really are who we think we are. In his book Simulacron 3, published in 1964, the American novelist described a scientific experiment and its weird repercussions: a simulated universe, modeled after our world and managed by computer technicians, where some cracks in the system occur, allowing virtual beings — avatars — to establish contact with the scientists who created them. A situation that inevitably leads to catastrophe. Almost 30 years later, Neal Stephenson made things more confusing in his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash (1992). Here, it is even less clear, who controls who. In his socalled Metaverse, human beings and their avatars interact — and those interactions result in conflict between real and virtual entities. There are several competing factions fighting for control over the Metaverse, and a resistance organization wants to constitute anarchy in the virtual world. Control is key in Stephenson’s dystopian story — as it is in our world today. The early 21st century has seen significant progress in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are witnessing a development that will ultimately lead to thinking
machines, some of them in human shape, performing an increasing number of tasks in our daily life. Avatars, robots, cyborgs — whatever their name — will soon be the new normal. With the advent of artificial humanoids, we not only have to define new rules and laws for society, but also find appropriate ways to limit the power of the machines. On another front, Big Data firms like Google, Facebook or Amazon are creating extremely powerful algorithmic empires, whose central aim is to collect data that is sold to clients — for analysis, advertising, microtargeting and behavior manipulation. Imagine tailor-made private data in the hands of intelligent machines: even if those machines wouldn’t be able to weaponize the information, they could still be used by sinister corporations or demagogues to exert control over individuals on a massive, if not global, scale. While mass media and mass manipulation became tools of the trade already in the 20th century, nowadays individuals are the preferred targets of the ever more sophisticated industry of behavior manipulation and mind control. The final frontier is the subconscious: our dreams.
This is by no means the stuff of science fiction movies, even though many people would like to think it is. In 2018 physicists and neuroscientists at the University of Washington in Seattle developed digital tools that can sense thoughts and transmit information into other brains. Brain-tobrain communication has become a reality, and it could be a matter of three or four decades until mind control arrives. At MMT Neurotech in Westport, Connecticut, a company founded in 2004 by neuroscientists, biochemists and computer experts, according to chief scientist Donald Marks the future has just begun: “We are working on brain virtualization and the creation of artificial thoughts.” MMT uses its own technology called Cognitive Engram to correlate specific brain activation patterns to specific thoughts. Data gained from those scans is stored and can be used to visualize thoughts and dreams. The company already offers the service commercially. In 2013, scientists at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, Kyoto, built a computer model that links patterns of brain activity to different types of images. It predicts what images the subjects saw in their dreams. Their findings show
that visual experience during sleep is represented by brain activity patterns shared by stimulus perception, providing a means to uncover subjective contents of dreaming using neural measurement. In other words, MRI technology, aka: brain scans, are used to reconstruct visual memories of dreams. Mark Stokes, an acclaimed neuroscientist at Oxford University, says the new method “brings us a lot closer to creating dreamreading machines.” from reading to writing dreams? Combining the aformentioned scientific methods leads to the concept of dream manipulation, which is not as far fetched as one might think. In principle, it happens already today in the shape of lucid dreaming: “Lucid dreamers can watch their dreams evolve and then alter their course as they see fit”, explains Allan Hobson, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In his groundbreaking paper “The Neurobiology of Consciousness” (2009) Hobson concludes that dreams can be pre-planned “by means of autosuggestion.” Or potentially by third-party interference, whereby the dreamer’s mind would be hacked. how long will it take
Inter-dreamer communication has already arrived, too. Daniel Oldis, a software engineer from Costa Mesa, California, used a special EEG headband called Zeo, a red light bulb, some programming skills and the internet to engage in what he calls social dreaming. The concept is fascinating: the EEG headbands of two participants are connected via bluetooth to the internet, transmitting their brain wave data to a website which hosts special software. When it detects that both people are in REM sleep and most likely dreaming, it sends one of them a signal, turning on the light bulb. Chances are, he or she will incorporate the light into their dream. If the dreamer, while in lucid state, notices the light, he or she sends a signal back to the other dreamer with a unique physical gesture, such as looking twice to the left. The headband captures the eye movement and transmits it to the second dreamer, and a light will turn on in his or her room, too, causing the second person to become lucidly aware of the other in the dream. From then on, both persons are inside the same stream of subconsciousness — until they wake up. Oldis’ experiment has shown that dreamers are susceptible to outside signals and
capable of interpreting those signals in their dreams. By replacing the second dreamer with a person that is awake, this simple set up lays the foundations for a process that is more frightening than fascinating: controlled dreaming. for most people, dreams are private
territory, like thoughts and feelings. Although they sometimes talk about them with family and friends, it is a given that the subconscious isn’t shared with others — except for therapeutical reasons. One of the most compelling accounts of recounted dreams was published by the exiled German journalist Charlotte Beradt. In 1943, four years after she was forced to leave Germany, she wrote an article for the New York-based paper Free World. It was a detailed account of dreams that had been retold by Germans who suffered from the Nazi regime. Common to all those dreams was, according to Beradt, that “the principals suffered without taking any action. The thought of opposition did not occur to them — fear was too deeply ingrained.” Even in the realm of dreams, people in Nazi Germany were unable to put up any resistance against the regime — although in
their hermetically sealed dream world they didn’t have to fear punishment, since nobody could listen in on what was happening in their subconscious. In the neurodigital age, however, where brain activity can be scanned, monitored, even induced or commanded; where individuals can be targeted precisely and where artificial intelligence reacts much faster to changing parameters than humans ever could — the realm of dreams rapidly loses its defensive bastion. The attack on our minds, thoughts and dreams will most likely come unnoticed, but there are numerous blueprints that illustrate how it could happen. In 2016, behavior manipulation was employed during the US elections, when the hitherto unknown British company Cambridge Analytica handed pre-processed data of more than 80 million voters over to the propaganda department of republican candidate Donald J. Trump. For each single voter, the data revealed hundreds of personal preferences and aversions, likes and dislikes, derived from their activity on Facebook. In a complex operation, the data was browsed for topics that could be used as a gateway to influence each individual voter’s political opinion. This information
was used for massive microtargeting. With the polls being only two weeks away, the electorate in three US states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — received an unprecedented barrage of tailormade ads committing them to vote for Trump. The outcome is well-known. The method elucidates, how manipulation in the digital age works — through the backdoor. And it works reliably, as the average user of social media platforms voluntarily surrenders his or her personal data to the company that provides the service, even so internet pioneer Jaron Lanier, a lone voice in the wilderness, pointed out in his book Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (2018) that the only defense against behavior manipulation is by abstaining from social media completely. Lanier writes: “We’re being tracked and measured constantly, and receiving engineered feedback all the time. We’re hypnotized little by little by technicians we can’t see, for purposes we don’t know. We’re all lab animals now.” Fast-forward to the future of mind control: A straight path leads from current social media consumption and addiction via loss of independent thinking and inability
of opinion formation based on facts, into the largely uncharted territory of neurodigital behavior engineering — and ultimately towards controlled dreaming. The theoretical framework exists, practical tests have been successfully completed, and the current constellation of commercial and political players strongly suggests that the development follows the seasoned principle: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” on the strength of these realities,
the project Dream Control took shape in November 2017, while I was conducting an indepth research of the manipulative nature of hyper-commercialized social media. Inspired by Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, which I read again 25 years after having devoured it in 1992, the idea emerged of a saturnine regime that draws its power from sophisticated behavior control in disguise of social entertainment — a modified example of today’s surveillance capitalism. Since the entertainment industry has conquered almost all areas of life but the realm of the subconscious, it is quite likely it will expand into that field in the near future. DC, the fictional enterprise that runs the socalled Somniverse, is loosely based on the
model of today’s ruthless multinational corporations. Its strategy does not provide for taking prisoners. On the contrary, the wideranging scope of operations, including secret — and not further specified — mandates from the government, calls for the management to establish a strict code of obedience among the staff. As in Daniel F. Galouye’s novel Simulacron 3 or in Terry Gilliam’s defining film Brazil (1982), however, the system is flawed. Dream Control describes and visualizes both the fascinating and terrifying aspects of an amusement park for sleepwalkers, which — as closer inspection reveals — is a front for a dubious organisation, whose true motives are unknown. As such, the series is an invitation for the viewers to scrutinize the value and integrity of allegedly lifeenhancing services, whose sole purpose is to jeopardize the customers’ ability to lead a self-determined, sovereign life. Closing this prologue, nothing is more appropriate than a quote from Snow Crash: “Any information system of sufficient complexity will inevitably become infected with viruses generated from within itself.” February 2019
FEBRUARY 29, 2044
when i first heard of the somniverse,
it sounded like a big scam. How could sleepwalkers possibly indulge in joint adventures with their peers? I would rather assert the story you are about to read were fictitious. That, however, would be nothing but a deliberate act of delusion. A few months ago, I received an invitation to a banquet at the New York headquarters of DC Corp., one of those newfangled multi-trillion-dollar firms that succeeded Google and other second-generation startups of Silicon Valley. It was a lush party, and I soon got acquainted with DC’s CEO and founder George McKenzie. A tall and impressive man in his late thirties, whose hands-down talent was to rope everyone in on the merits of computer-aided behavior control, he stressed the importance of DC’s collaboration with the government — thus, admittedly, piquing my curiosity. “In our system,” he declaimed proudly, “dreams, whether lucid or not, are attentively monitored and amiably curated, enabling clients to dream much more efficiently. Wouldn’t you think this is a great improvement over the current state of things, where all that precious energy you spend in dreams is irretrievably lost?” Somehow,
McKenzie had a point. His speech was truly convincing, and finally he offered me a trial run, free of charge. “You know, we’re always searching for guinea pigs,” he smirked. The next day, a comm bot arrived, asking me what would be the most convenient day to partake in the test. It also delivered a lengthy questionnaire and a form I had to sign, granting DC permission to obtain details of my mental and physical health status. The procedure, albeit professionally presented, appeared suspicious, to say the least. And when I researched the so-called Somniverse, an entertainment park run by DC, I read about a string of scandals that had led to its temporary shutdown not long ago. Yet, after a couple of days — and mainly out of curiosity — I sent back all necessary papers and signatures, despite strong reservations regarding potential dangers. The confirmation arrived in no time. It also contained a bundle of electronic leaflets: “How to prepare your voyage to the Somniverse”, “The Rules of the Somniverse”, plus a few more pamphlets describing “landmark dream experiences” of famous people, including President Chandler. All in all, impressive marketing fuss, pimped with allegedly scientific facts.
16 “In the Somniverse, dreams, whether lucid or not, are attentively monitored and amiably curated, enabling clients to dream more efficiently. Wouldn’t you think it is a great improvement over the current state of things, where all the precious energy you spend in your dreams is irretrievably lost?” George McKenzie, CEO, DC Corp.
Missing, however, was a reference to DC’s purported connection with the government. They either weren’t allowed to mention it — or McKenzie had exaggerated the importance of his firm during the banquet. Both options weren’t exactly suited to ease my skeptical mind, but in the end I decided to not look a gift horse in the mouth and instead prepare for the coming adventure. the next evening, I delved into “The Rules of the Somniverse”, a visitor’s guide to the plenty dos and don’ts of the system. It was inadvertently hilarious and reminded me in parts of the ten commandments — rewritten by Monty Python. For example, when an alienlike figure wearing a golden dress told me in a speech bubble that it was “prohibited to remove any items from the virtual dream world and take them home.” Clearly, DC went to great lengths to make the Somniverse appear as if it were a real place. Concise rules covered the interactions with other visitors. In short, the Somniverse was populated by dreamers, avatars and DC’s technical staff. As a dreamer, I was allowed to communicate only with avatars and — in case of emergency — with staff who would be around at any time and easy to
recognize in their unique uniforms. By no means should I try to contact other dreamers if I encountered them. Otherwise, the voyage would immediately be terminated for all guests involved. In order to facilitate the journey, DC had implemented a security mechanism that prevented inter-dreamer contact, as it could lead to severe brain damage. What a nice prospect! Speaking of technology, the brochure did not explain precisely, how the scientists would analyze and interpret my brain activity while I was sleeping, but the concept outlined in “How to prepare your voyage to the Somniverse” gave me a vague idea: A few days before the test started, the company would send two pills by secure courier service. One contained a nano particle, basically a small chip handling neural communications between my brain and the Somniverse system. The second pill would include a psychoactive substance called Sync®, whose effect wasn’t further elaborated. The nano device had to be taken six hours ahead of the journey, the Sync® pill 15 minutes prior to take-off. As a matter of course, I had to be sober and wasn’t allowed to eat anything after having swallowed the nano chip.
from my night in the Somniverse is an encounter with a tall darkhaired woman, wearing a uniform that reminded me of a 19th century period movie. She looked at me from inside a mirror and was gesturing that I should follow her. In a dream everything is possible, they say, so walking through a mirror to follow the woman of my dreams felt absolutely natural. It was quite obvious that DC Corp. had gathered vital information about my life, especially my love life. A few weeks earlier, I had started dating a woman who very much resembled the Somniverse guide. In hindsight, I figure they must have analyzed my social media posts rigorously for to find a guide who almost was a lookalike. She brought me to a circular room full of oddities that resembled strange props from a David Lynch movie. Thick pipes and funny apparatuses — impossible to name, let alone to guess their functions — were lining
first thing i remember
the wall. Ominous sounds filled the room, almost as if compressed air was streaming through the pipes. I felt cold and uncomfortable. The guide asked me to take a seat inside a dimly lit cupola and closed its door. Suddenly, the lights started flickering and I got the impression of being transported to another sphere. (The actual sensation of that moment is hard to describe; never before had I been in a situation like this. Perhaps the Sync® began to kick in, putting me in a state of trance.) After a while (it could have been seconds or minutes — time somehow became irrelevant and thus impossible to measure) the guide disappeared. My eyes were irritated by flashing lights; the cupola started to shake harder and harder. I had to hold fast to the armrests to avoid being ejected from the seat. Finally, the machine teleported me to a dark corridor with numerous doors — and vanished.
» She brought me to a room full of oddities that resembled props from a David Lynch movie «
“It was a great career opportunity, of course. Just having finished my neuroengineering studies at university, the job offer from DC came as a big surprise. Well, I didn’t know exactly what they were doing, but I thought I’d give it a try. You don’t have so many choices these days.” Officer Komura, DC Corp.
life is about making choices.
The engineers of the Somniverse obviously had that in mind, when they built the system. And although there were no hints as to what would lay waiting behind all those doors, my instincts (or or so it seemed) told me to take the second one on the left. What a splendid idea: not in my wildest imagination had I expected to end up in my own apartment from a few years ago, with my ex-wife Isabella reminding me of all the good and bad things I had tried to forget ever since. For sure, this wasn’t the dream experience I had hoped for. (Later, I found out in a conversation with a staff member that the Isabella sequence was programmed to unfold behind every door of the corridor. In fact, DC’s analysts had thoroughly investigated my private life, based on what me and my friends had talked about over the preceding weeks. That knowledge was used to design several plausible dream scenarios. Confronting me with Isabella’s avatar in the first episode must have seemed promising from a user satisfaction angle. In stark contrast to life, dreams in the Somniverse were not focused on choices — they were designed around what DC had learned about the clients’ fears and hopes.
Slightly irritated by the encounter with Isabella, I felt the urge to leave the bedroom as quickly as possible — or even escape from the dream altogether. At that point, the alarm bells at DC’s mission control must have rung with ear-piercing intensity. In any case, the avatar and the room dissolved in front of my eyes, and I found myself back in the corridor. From then on, things got really weird. unable to recall how long the state of limbo continued, my memory of the events that followed immediately after I had opened another door, only contains fragments: in an old theater, seemingly defunct, a group of actors performed in what looked like a scene from Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus”. Heads were rolling, blood was splattering; a sickening smell of violence filled the room. Most puzzling, however, was the fact that nobody moved. The scene was frozen, like a photograph. As if someone had pressed the “Pause” button of the device that played the sequence. (A few days after the trip, McKenzie told me that the Somniverse had had a serious malfunction, probably caused by my abrupt escape from the Isabella episode. Originally, the stageplay was planned to be part of another client’s dream.)
“After I quit my job as a military instructor, it felt natural to apply for the position of client liaison officer at DC. You see, the routines are very similar — and I’ve always loved to be in command.” Officer Simpson, DC Corp.
“Recent events have scared me off quite a bit, to be honest. I’m trying to leave as soon as possible. But — who knows if they would really let me go, after all I’ve seen and heard?” Officer Fraser, DC Corp.
On the opposite side of the theater auditorium, I noticed one of the admins. Apparently, his movements weren’t frozen, signalling with his hands that I better leave the place and meet him outside. His efforts were in vain, though, as an inexplicable force pushed me towards another exit, into a tunnel, where I found myself on the tracks of a subway line — with a train quickly approaching. What had started as a flashback to my former love life, now became a full-blown nightmare. There was no other explanation than a sudden loss of control over where and how my dream was supposed to continue. (When I talked to one of DC’s officers later, he dismissed my notion that a technical error could have caused the disaster. Instead, he argued, those and similar occurrences were inherent in the system’s design. The Somniverse collected data from thousands of clients, and he had noticed several times that the AI software intentionally wasn’t filtering the myriads
of bits correctly. This often led to conflicting instructions both for avatars and admins.) the train is shrouded in memory. What remains, are blurred images of avatars in a backyard and a strange procession of golden cyborgs — the most wonderous encounter I recall from the trip. Then, shortly before I woke up again, two officers escorted me to an elevator. My physical condition was awful; I hardly managed to stay on my feet. In a lucid moment though, I noticed we were on the 15th floor. It’s those unimportant things that I remember best. Perhaps this is the only way to get out of the Somniverse free of all mental damage: by forgetting all the dangerous and potentially harmful situations that are lurking behind every corner of that place. George McKenzie contacted me a week after my sleepwalking adventure and asked for a first-hand account of my visit to the park.
how i exactly managed to dodge
» What had started as a flashback to my love life, now became a full-blown nightmare «
When I described the menacing moment on the subway tracks, he filled me in on the findings of his technical staff: What I had felt as an inexplicable push towards the tunnel was most likely a neural tractor impulse programmed by an intruder, who tried to sabotage the system. It was clear to McKenzie that only DC’s former Chief Security Officer Brad Hansen could have been behind the attack. “We fired him as a consequence of a massive data heist that happened two years ago,” he explained. “Now, he’s giving us a lot of trouble, but he makes mistakes. We’re hard on his heels already”. several weeks had passed,
when one day an encrypted message arrived by holomail. Although the on-screen info was garbled, the sender was perfectly legible. He or she went by the name of Dolores — a reasonable cipher, not giving away too much, but indicating that something wasn’t the way it should be. I asked my buddy Alejandro, an expert code breaker, to decrypt the message, which he managed to do in almost no time. The holoscreen flickered slightly, but soon the video started playing. One of the golden cyborgs I had seen in the Somniverse leaned against a dark
wall and declaimed: “So you’ve been to the show, my friend, and saw the abyss of mankind’s dreams with your own eyes”. I shuddered. Alejandro looked at me clue lessly. The cyborg continued: “Listen up, mortal: the place you call the Somniverse has become a cesspool of greedy rascals. Now, we have come as scavengers, by order of Dolores. Stay away from that miserable venue and keep your dreams to yourself”. “This was a joke?”, Alejandro asked. I turned off the holoscreen and shook my head. “I’m afraid, not. When I was in the Somniverse, I saw several of those creatures — I know: it was in a dream, but ...” “Oh—kay, I get it. Just do me one favor, please: Spare me the details, man”. Hastily, he packed up his stuff and left. in my dreams. Although I never connected to the system again — and don’t feel the need to do so — the mysterious character appears in my subconscious until this day. And every once in a while, when I wake up in the middle of the night, a golden cyborg is floating in mid air outside my bedroom window. Luckily, in those moments Alejandro’s plea resonates in my ears: “Spare me the details”.
dolores remained a recurring visitor
“This is definitely the future of society: control of the subconscious. In the past, great ideas were too often repressed. The Somniverse will hopefully enable us to change the fate of humanity — for the better.” Officer Bowers, DC Corp.
A virtual place where adventures of sleepwalkers become simulated reality (Advertising claim) The Somniverse was invented and designed by Canadian neuroscientist and IT specialist George McKenzie in 2039. He sold the related patents to his own company DC Corp., founded in 2040 in New York City, USA. The firm is listed at NYSE. Today, their shares are largely owned by institutional investors from Asia. In 2041, McKenzie and his staff, most of them highly skilled scientists and ex-military personnel, began building the commercial version of the Somniverse and started field tests with volunteers, recruited from federal prisons. On September 18, 2041, the simulated amusement park was inaugurated. Among the first clients who used the facility, was President Naomi Chandler. According to media reports, the POTUS was so amazed, she invited the entire staff of the White House to a weeklong dream-in. Early in 2042, it was rumored that a number of prisoners who had acted as guinea pigs the year before, were institutionalized. The company denied any responsibility and assured they had no knowledge of those events. Later that year, an unnamed group of cybercriminals outwitted the security system of
the simulation and stole neurodigital behavioural data of an unknown number of clients. DC Corp. apologized for the security breach and promptly fired their CSO Brad Hansen. His current whereabouts are unknown. When confidential memos of a high-ranking manager at DC Corp. were published on the holopage of the New York Times in 2043, the company faced one of their biggest PR disasters: the memos revealed in detail, that technical advisors of a political party not only were given access to clientsâ€™ private data during the 2042 midterms, but were also allowed to actively infiltrate their dreams. Immediately after the news broke, DC Corp. shut down the Somniverse, allegedly for reasons of routine maintenance. The park remained closed for several months and was re-opened in January, 2044. Meanwhile, most customers had cancelled their subscriptions, but a successful multibillion dollar advertising campaign reanimated DCâ€™s business literally over night. In February, 2044, the company reportedly signed an agreement with the US Dept. of Defence. Its contents are classified.
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0100h
Establishing contact with: target BA07 ... Condition: green ... Rendez-vous destination: barber shop ... Liaison officer: Komura ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Estimated time of contact: 0115h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: not established, pending … >> >> >>
Komura: Establishing contact with target BA07 … McKenzie: Good luck and deep dreams … Komura: Thank you, sir. Next ride is yours …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0115h
Establishing contact with: target BA07 ... Condition: yellow ... Location: barber shop ... Liaison officer: Komura ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0115h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: not established, pending … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
McKenzie: Komura, we have a problem with the amount of neural energy. Tech Ops are working on it already, but we do not know, when conditions will be safe … Komura: Roger. Should I remain on stand-by or abort? … McKenzie: Do you see the target already? … Komura: Positive … McKenzie: Remain on stand-by for now. Tech Ops is signaling progress … Komura: I have a feeling it has spotted me … McKenzie: Impossible. It is sleeping … Komura: But, but … it is looking at me in a strange way … McKenzie: Wait, I will check the screen. Do not – I repeat – NOT transfeel! … Komura: Roger. Waiting for instructions ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0118h Establishing contact with: Target BA07 ... Condition: orange ... Location: barber shop ... Liaison officer: Komura ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0118h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: not established, pending …
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McKenzie: Target BA07 is having difficulties. Take a look at the Tech Pad, Simpson. Do you have any explanation for this irregular activity? ... Simpson: It looks like a cortical dysfunction. It also happened to one of Fraser’s targets last week … McKenzie: How did he handle the incident? … Simpson: Why don’t we ask him? … McKenzie: Fraser! We need your advice on cortical dysfunction. Simpson mentioned you had a similar problem with one of your targets recently … Fraser: So true. But I guess my advice won’t be helpful at all … McKenzie: Why would that be? … Fraser: The target passed away from a cerebral bleeding, unfortunately … McKenzie: Damn it! … Simpson: Calm down. After all, we cannot be held responsible for the health of the targets. We hardly ever receive their medical results on time ... McKenzie: Fair enough ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0130h
Contact established with: target BA07 ... Condition: green ... Location: Transfeel cupola ... Liaison officer: Komura ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0130h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: not established, pending … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
Komura: All parameters in green condition, ready to transfeel … McKenzie: You should apply the manual procedure nonetheless … Komura: Manual? Why? … McKenzie: For safety reasons. There seem to be some inconsistencies in the automatic cortico-kinetic distribution pattern … Komura: Like back in the days? … McKenzie: Maybe worse. Be careful … Komura: I certainly don’t want to lose my target, sir … McKenzie: Good plan, Komura! See you on the other side …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0135h
Contact established with: target BA07 ... Condition: green ... Location: bedroom ... Liaison officer: Komura ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0135h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: not established, pending … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
Komura: First sequence initiated. Awaiting instructions … McKenzie: Since we are running a bit late, we should set a tighter time limit … Komura: I wonder if BA07 had imagined a quickie for this night? … McKenzie: Most probably not. If anyone could ever imagine what they are supposed to dream, our clients would be seriously mad at us … Komura: Did you ever meet one of them? … McKenzie: None of your business, I’m afraid … Komura: Sure … McKenzie: Alright, now prepare transfer of target to Officer Simpson ... Komura: Target BA07 ready to be transferred. Good night, sir ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0155h
Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: orange ... Location: backstage ... Liaison officer: Simpson ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0155h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
Simpson: Mission Control, we might have a problem here … McKenzie: Details, officer … Simpson: Target is not visible at location. And one of the avatars is about to pass out … McKenzie: What do you mean, not visible? … Simpson: BA07 is not in this area, although Komura had started the transfer … McKenzie: The avatar will be overhauled by Tech Ops. But you HAVE to find BA07 … Simpson: What if the target has begun another dream or dropped out? … McKenzie: Impossible. We are controlling it … Simpson: Of course …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0215h
Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: orange ... Location: bath house ... Liaison officer: Pearson ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0215h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
McKenzie: Anything unusual at your location, Pearson? We are searching for a target that has gone astray … Pearson: I was just informed by Simpson. Nothing unusual in this place … McKenzie: Your target looks relaxed and fine. Please join the search for BA07 … Pearson: Alright. I will relocate, as soon as I have received new coordinates … McKenzie: Fraser will send them in a few seconds … Pearson: Roger. Should I abort my target’s mission? … McKenzie: Unfortunately, yes. We have to avoid any further risk … Pearson: Initiating end sequence for target 9A04 … McKenzie: Send your mission report to Fraser, after we have found BA07 … Pearson: Will do, sir. Over and out …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0230h
Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: apartment ... Liaison officer: Pearson ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0230h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
Pearson: Mission Control, we have a code red incident at the apartment … McKenzie: Details, please. There is no visual contact. Is target BA07 involved? … Pearson: Negative. Live interaction between officer and avatar … McKenzie: A serious breach of protocol. You know what to do, Pearson … Pearson: Certainly. The procedure is clear to me … McKenzie: Please report to Mission Control, once you’re done with it … Pearson: Sir, are your sure we should apply the standard procedure? … McKenzie: Absolutely. There will be no exceptions … Pearson: Roger. Terminating officer ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0258h
Establishing contact with: target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: pool ... Liaison officer: Pearson ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0258h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
Pearson: Mission Control, reporting termination of officer as requested … Fraser: Pearson, which officer are you talking about? … Pearson: Officer Winkler, sir … Fraser: Winkler? Are you sure? What happened? … Pearson: McKenzie ordered the officer to be terminated, since she was involved in a code red incident … Fraser: Dolores! … Pearson: You know her first name, sir? ... Fraser: Yes, and I won’t forget it …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0310h Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: unknown ... Liaison officer: Pearson ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0310h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel …
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McKenzie: It was a very unlucky incident, Fraser. You know, there was no alternative … Fraser: You were following the protocol, sir … McKenzie: I wasn’t aware of your private connection with Officer Winkler … Fraser: Oh, it wasn’t serious … McKenzie: Serious enough, methinks. Given the fact that you have left your post without informing the officer on duty … Fraser: I needed a break. It’s no excuse, but … McKenzie: Where are you now, Fraser? I will send a team to pick you up … Fraser: I’m on my way already. No need to send anyone … McKenzie: Alright. Report to me immediately, when you’re back at Mission Control … Fraser: Definitely, sir ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0315h
Contact established with: target BA07 ... Condition: yellow ... Location: theater ... Liaison officer: Lyanov ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0315h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
Lyanov: Mission Control, target BA07 in sight … Simpson: Well done, Lyanov. Please assess the situation … Lyanov: It is quite confusing, to be honest. There is no such scene in the protocol … Simpson: Details … Lyanov: All avatars appear to be cloned. I don’t know, but there could be a virus in the system … Simpson: Tech Ops will take care of that. Your main objective is to guide the target to a safe place … Lyanov: That will be impossible … Simpson: Then just send its coordinates, Lyanov. Now! … Lyanov: Roger. Transmission starting …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0320h Transferring contact: target BA07 ... Condition: orange ... Location: subway ... Liaison officer: Bowers ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0320h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel …
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Simpson: Bowers, do you copy? … Bowers: Loud and clear, Mission Control … Simpson: Target BA07 should arrive at your location now. Any sign of it? … Bowers: Negative. I’m witnessing a standoff between two avatars and wonder if it is part of the target’s imagination or one of our own plots … Simpson: What’s the difference, Bowers? … Bowers: Right. But there’s another avatar in the car that shouldn’t be there … Simpson: Terminate it, if it causes any trouble … Bowers: Roger. Monitoring the situation ... Simpson: Still no sign of BA07? ... Bowers: Transfer has not happened ... Simpson: Stay put, officer. Over and out ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0335h Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: unknown ... Liaison officer: Bowers ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0335h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel …
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Fraser: Bowers, are you available? … Bowers: Sure. What can I do for you? … Fraser: I’m off-duty, kind of. Do me a favor and switch to an encrypted frequency … Bowers: Switching to a safe line at 8.4 GHz … Fraser: Listen, we are not only losing targets, but also avatars and officers. Something is fundamentally wrong. We should investigate what’s going on … Bowers: It’s terrible, I know. Only a few minutes ago, Simpson ordered me to terminate an avatar. There was no imminent danger. The order was totally deliberate … Fraser: Did you follow it … Bowers: No, but she will find out shortly … Fraser: I’m glad you didn’t … Bowers: Fraser, I have a notion there is something brewing among the avatars ... Fraser: What do you mean? ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0415h
Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: unknown ... Liaison officer: Bowers ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0415h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
Bowers: Do you remember that particular avatar called Hansen? … Fraser: Vaguely. It has various names, depending on the target it is assigned to … Bowers: Not anymore, Fraser. Lately, it insists on being called Hansen in any scenario … Fraser: You mean, it has assumed a permanent identity? … Bowers: Exactly. In another avatars’ memory files, Hansen even commands a resistance group … Fraser: Gosh, that’s frightening. Did he ever try to contact a target directly? … Bowers: Not that I knew. But it’s possible, of course … Fraser: Alright. For the moment, I’ll remain in hiding and see what happened to BA07. If there are any news, please fill me in immediately … Bowers: Sure. I’ll let you know …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0447h Contact lost with: Target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: hospital ... Liaison officer: currently not assigned ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0447h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel …
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McKenzie: Lyanov, what is your current position? … Lyanov: About to enter the hospital, sir … McKenzie: Too late! According to Simpson, BA07 won‘t show up there. We need you at another location now. Get ready to be transferred to ceremonial hall … Lyanov: Oh! That place hadn’t been used in a while … McKenzie: And that is exactly the problem. We have gathered information about an unusual event that will most likely happen there pretty soon … Lyanov: I’ll be ready for the transfer in a minute. What kind of event are you talking about? … McKenzie: Information is sparse. All we know is that Hansen is behind it … Lyanov: Hansen? … McKenzie: I‘m sure you’ve heard of him before ... Lyanov: Of course. Who hasn’t? …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0552h Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: kitchen ... Liaison officer: currently not assigned ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0552h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel …
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Simpson: Mission Control, I urgently need assistance … McKenzie: What’s the problem, Simpson? … Simpson: One of the psychs has turned violent … McKenzie: I’ll have Tech Ops handle it. Don’t worry and leave the place quickly … Simpson: I don’t know. It’s getting out of hand … McKenzie: Simpson, you’re investing yourself too much. Those avatars are easy to replace … Simpson: That won’t help much, if they’re all killing themselves … McKenzie: It’s just a minor design flaw. Our next generation avatars are immune to psychotic disorders … Simpson: Sounds like a major improvement … McKenzie: It’s a nice upgrade. Gone with depression, here comes eternal happiness ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0606h
Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: unknown ... Liaison officer: currently not assigned ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0606h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
Pearson: Mission Control, there are strange interferences around ceremonial hall … McKenzie: Alright, Pearson. Where are you located? I cannot see you on the grid … Pearson: I was about to enter the hall, but some – thing – stopped me in my tracks … McKenzie: A thing? … Pearson: At first, I thought it was an avatar, but it emanated an aura of warmth … McKenzie: Pearson! You’re overwraught … Pearson: As it happens, I am, sir. But there’s effectively something weird going on in this place. You should send in more officers … McKenzie: Thank you, Jim. Now get some rest …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0649h Contact lost with: target BA07 ... Condition: red ... Location: ceremonial hall ... Liaison officer: currently not assigned ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0649h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: abort mission by reverse transfeel …
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Pearson: Anybody listening on 8.4? … Fraser: I hear you, Pearson. What’s up? … Pearson: Listen, I really don’t fathom this, but I have a feeling we’re in deep trouble … Fraser: Are you referring to BA07? … Pearson: Possibly. Since we started handling that target, some vital parameters of the Somniverse have changed: avatars gone wild, officers lost, what have you … Fraser: Did you try to locate the target? … Pearson: Yes, to no avail … Lyanov: Sorry to intrude, officers, but I know where to find it … Pearson: So? … Fraser: So? ... Lyanov: Floor 15 ... Fraser: Meet you there in 10, Lyanov! ...
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0659h
Contact established with: Target BA07 ... Condition: yellow ... Location: floor 15 ... Liaison officer: Lyanov ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0659h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: n/a … >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>
McKenzie: How the hell did you find it? … Lyanov: It said, it was waiting in the corridor for most of the night, sir … McKenzie: Do you believe that? … Lyanov: Makes no sense to me, but I have no better explanation … McKenzie: Fair enough. Now, we better terminate the mission … Fraser: (shudders) Terminate? … Lyanov: We’ll put BA07 in the elevator. You are familiar with the procedure, Fraser … Frazer: Sometimes I wonder if this is only happening in a dream … McKenzie: Thank you, officers …
Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 0710h
Truncating contact with: target BA07 ... Condition: green ... Liaison officer: Fraser ... Mission leader: McKenzie ... Mission time: 0710h ... Estimated end of mission: 0545h ... Mission end sequence: elevator ... Fallback option: n/a … >> >>
Fraser: I just couldn’t resist … Simpson: You’re a hopeless scallywag, Fraser …
by Julius Deutschbauer & Sina Klein
Offenbar teilt Frank Lassak die tiefe Abneigung Gottfried Benns gegen Farblast. In seinen tableaux vivants – als solche kann man die Serie Dream Control durchaus bezeichnen – vermeidet er es geradezu, in seiner Farbgebung „besonders üppig und phantasievoll zu wirken“. Statt Signalrot verwendet er lieber Matt- und Mausgrau, statt leuchtendes Gelb lieber Nuss- bis Maulwurfsbraun. Lassak übersieht ganz sicher nicht, „daß [zu üppige] Farben ja reine Wortklischees sind, die besser beim Optiker und Augenarzt ihr Unterkommen finden.“ (Gottfried Benn, Probleme der Lyrik – Späte Reden und Vorträge, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta 2011, S. 44 f.) Währenddessen schieben sich hermetisch abgeschlossene Räume vor die Körper der Träumenden, die gemacht sind wie aus Merseburger Zaubersprüchen: „Knochen zu Knochen, Blut zu Blut, / Glied zu Glied, als ob sie geleimt wären!“ Und Sylvia Plath sagt: „The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence. […] to the person in the bell jar“: Dein Kopf ist nur meine Kulisse. Auch wenn Benn eine ihm vom Autor persönlich zugeeignete Mein-Kampf-Ausgabe besessen haben mag, teilte er gewiss
nicht dessen Farbgeschmack. Diesem waren nur schreiende Farben „für umwälzende Bewegungen […] mitreißend genug“. (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, München: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 670. Auflage 1942, S. 555) Manche Motive aus Dream Control scheinen bedrohlich an solch „mitreißende“ wie „umwälzende Bewegungen“ zu gemahnen. Man fühlt sich nachgerade an von Charlotte Beradt in den 1930er und 1940er Jahren in Deutschland gesammelte Träume erinnert: „Ich werde mich in Blei verstecken, Blei festgeschlossen. Angst wird vergehen, wenn ich ganz aus Blei bin. Werde regungslos liegen, Blei erschossen.“ (Charlotte Beradt, Das Dritte Reich des Traums, München: Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung 1966, S. 35) So wirkt Dream Control in den meisten seiner Bilder nahezu vollständig ausgeblutet, als würden sie dem biblischen Reinheitsgebot folgen: „Wer unter euch auf der Jagd ein Tier oder einen Vogel fängt, die man essen darf, soll ihr Blut ausfließen lassen und mit Erde zuscharren.“ (3. Mose XVII, 13) Mitunter ist es auch, als befände man sich mit den Gebrüdern Grimm auf Erkundungstour in der Blutkammer von „Fitchers Vogel“ oder in einem Skaphander mit Sina
Klein – „Du bist / ein Foto ∙ ohne Blut, – es war schon immer so: Das Bild, in dem wir sind, geht zu ∙ sobald es aufgenommen wird (who’s next?) ∙ und aus, und aus bist du.“ Eine farbliche Ausnahme macht Lassak jedoch: „Da wäre vielleicht eine Befreundung für Blau, welch Glück, welch reines Erlebnis! Man denke alle die leeren, entkräfteten Bespielungen, die suggestionslosen Präambeln für dies einzige Kolorit, [...]. Nicht umsonst sage ich Blau. Es ist das Südwort schlechthin.“ (Benn, S. 53f.) Ob die Verwendung von Blau durch Lassak wie bei Benn auf eine „Befreundung für Blau“ zurückzuführen ist, sei dahingestellt, aber es kann festgehalten werden, dass es vorkommt, wenngleich nicht als Exponent des „Ligurischen Komplexes“ und von enormem „Wallungswert“, (ebd., S. 54), sondern zum Beispiel in Verbindung mit dem Mythos Ophelia, der durch endlose neue Anrufungen zum ewigen Schlaf Verdamm-
ten, in den Bildern Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 02:15 und 02:58. Und während sie da treibt in den zukünftigen Pools der Kulturgeschichte, wird sie zur Kulisse für die Begehung durch Andere, ihr Begehren, ihre Erinnerungen und – so Rilke im Gedicht „Morgue“ – ihre eigenen „Augen haben hinter ihren Lidern / sich umgewandt und schauen jetzt hinein“. „Denn sein Gedächtnis ist eine Wäscheleine“, beurteilt Beckett die Erinnerungsbedürfnisse Prousts (Samuel Beckett, Proust, Frankfurt/Main: Luchterhand 1989, S. 26). Bei Lassak scheint es ganz ähnlich zu sein. Das belegen die Traumbilder, die ihn eine fiktive halbe Nacht auf Mission Control schicken. Proust hält Träume für „ideale Schlafräume, […] geeignet, die Augen der darin Schlafenden zu erfreuen“. (Marcel Proust, Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Zeit, Bd. 1, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp 1993, S. 507).
» Man fühlt sich unweigerlich an Bulwer-Lyttons unterirdische Parallelwelten erinnert «
Das gilt ganz bestimmt nicht für Lassaks Dream-Control-Träume. Seine zu Szenen verwandelten Traumbilder wirken häufig wie – –! „Ausrufungszeichen sind rot, Gedankenstriche befehlen stop“, schreibt Theodor W. Adorno in „Noten zur Literatur“. „Zwei Gedankenstriche und das Ausrufezeichen deuten an, was nicht gesagt werden kann, lassen das Unaussprechliche als Bild spürbar werden (…) durch ein wortloses, aber umso beredteres Schweigen.“ (László F. Földényi, Heinrich von Kleist / Im Netz der Wörter, Matthes & Seitz 1999, S. 15) Wie auf einer proustschen Wäscheleine oder einem ins Endlose verlängerten Gedankenstrich hängen Lassaks Bilder gewaschen und doch schmutzig an den Stunden einer Nacht. Die Wäscheleine zieht einen nach unten, entweder unter Wasser wie im Traum Mission Control, February 29, 2044, 02:58 oder auf die unterste Stufe einer Kellerstiege wie im Traum 03:10. „Im Amselruf vergeht der Tag. / Die neue Nacht fällt in die Stunde. / Spürst du dein Herz in fremdem Schlag? Erschrickst du vor dem Ruf der Hunde? […] Verzehr dich nicht nach einem andern Haus. / Die Nacht ist allen gleich. Die Treppen / befremden dich und Gänge schleppen / Vergangenes. Unruh
läßt dich nicht aus. (Hertha Kräftner, Kühle Sterne, Suhrkamp 2001, S. 85).
• Eine Frage brannte uns allerdings bei unserem jüngsten Treffen mit Frank Lassak in der Wiener Bar Werd auch nach dem fünften Bier immer noch unter den Nägeln: „Warum hast du in annähernd jedes dritte Bild deiner Serie Nackte – meist Frauen – hinein inszeniert?“ Lassak erwiderte: „Nur wenn der Kontext es verlangte.“ Auch wir essen Kutteln nur, wenn es der Kontext verlangt, dann aber „so gierig, dass“ wir uns „alle Finger danach lecken“. […] Eine schöne Menge […], die sich da in uns anhäuft. […] Kutteln sind nämlich die fetten Därme des Mastviehs.“ (François Rabelais, Gargantua und Pantagruel, Frankfurt am Main: Insel Verlag 1974, S. 47f.) Ja, „Machtrieb, Geschlechtstrieb, Goldhunger (imperium, libido, panis – auri sacra fames)“, nennt Sante de Sanktis in „Psychologie des Traumes“ die stärksten Instinkte: „Die Affektivität ist der Motor.“ Während andere längst Schiffbruch erlitten – in der langen Stille der Belichtungszeiten von Lassaks Fuji GX 680, analoges Mittelformat, konnte man deutlich
die Dehnungsgeräusche der Lampen vernehmen; in der Hitze drohte das SpecialEffects-Make-up, das Bella Grigoryants den DarstellerInnen von Dream Control aufgetragen hatte, zu zerfließen – segeln wir immer noch mit dem günstigsten Winde seiner alchemistischen Traumkontrollfantasien des 29. Februar 2044. Weiteren Aufschluss über die günstige Konstellation, die jener Tag mit sich bringt, gibt uns das entsprechende Horoskop auf schicksal.com: „Das Sextil zwischen Sonne und Neptun verschafft uns verfeinerte Gefühle und Empfindungen, einen guten Geschmack, ein starkes Kunstempfinden, Originalität, ein tiefes Erfassen, Neigung zu mystischen Studien und Liebe für alles Schöne. Mond (Fische) Konjunktion Merkur (Fische). Diese Konstellation ist wieder eine gute Ausgangsbasis und Grundlage für alle Geschäfte, weil wir geistig rege sind, eine gutes Urteilsvermögen haben und gedanklich auch zu den unglaublichsten Kombinationen fähig sind. Sollten um diese Zeit sozusagen keine Kunden mehr erreichbar sein, wird die Vorbereitung für ein Geschäft während dieser Zeit zum Erfolg führen.“ Man fühlt sich unweigerlich an Edward Bulwer-Lyttons unterirdische Parallelwelten
erinnert. Uns schaudert „vor dem Gedanken, noch tiefer hinabzusteigen und den Bewohnern jenes Tales entgegenzutreten“. (Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Das kommende Geschlecht, München: dtv 1999, S. 9) Daher haben wir es als unsere „mitmenschliche Pflicht erachtet, dies zu Protokoll zu geben zur Warnung“ vor Lassaks Dream Control – When Freedom Ends. In seiner Welt des Jahres 2044 wollte man auch dann nicht länger verweilen – der Schöpfer dieser psychedelischen Träume übrigens auch nicht, wenn der Kontext es verlangte. Wenn die interessierte Leserin, der blätternde Betrachter dieses Buches die Nacht des 29. Februar überstanden hat, wird sie/er froh sein zu erfahren, dass die hier dargestellten Räume nur in Form von Miniaturen im Musée de cinéma et miniatures in Lyon zu erkunden sind. Wir beide haben das Glück, am 29. Februar geboren zu sein, sodass man uns nur alle vier Jahre beglückwünschen kann, denn „wenn der Geburtstagskuchen missrät, so bedeutet das dem, für den er bestimmt ist, Unglück oder gar den Tod in demselben Jahr“. (Hanns Bächthold-Stäubli (Hrsg.), Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, Berlin/NewYork: de Gruyter 1987)
de cinéma et miniatures at Lyon in November 2017, it was nothing less than a revelation. The venue is home to more than 100 meticulously crafted miniature scenes, some of them resembling pre-CGI era scale models of film sets, some showing the lush interiors of famous ocean liners, others depicting the mundane reality of 20th century streets and buildings. In short, an ideal collection of authentic scenes suitable to be used as backdrops for this series of staged photographs. Twelve of the miniature masterpieces used in Dream Control were created by Dan Ohlmann, the museum’s founder. Most of his works are assembled in 1/24th scale, each taking up to one year to finish. In total, Dan created 30 miniatures over the last 25 years. Ronan-Jim Sevellec, an artist from Britanny, is another major contributor. His scenes are used in four pictures. Additional pieces were provided by Alan Wolfson (USA), Mathieu Chollat and Michel Perez (both from France). Dan Ohlmann had worked as a set designer and discovered scale models of filmsets in the 1980s. He quit his previous job to become a miniaturist artist. Inspired by Edward Hopper and the strength of his colors and having great when i visited the musée
admiration for Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the aesthetic quality of his movies, Dan reproduces places that have left a lasting impression on him — be it through their architectural beauty or their special atmosphere. He also likes to create scenes coming directly from his imagination — as can be seen in the fourth picture of the series. The process of selecting the matching miniatures for the series took longer than anticipated, largely because there were so many to chose from, and because I wanted to limit the number of pictures in the series to 20. After location scouting, aka: shooting low resolution digital photos of all available miniatures at the museum, creative director Lena Naomi Krebs and I decided which scenes would be best suitable. And after we had finished months long castings of more than 200 applicants to find the best actors and actresses for the series, I went back to Lyon to produce high resolution negatives of the miniatures. of the image subjects and their numerous tiny details, a medium format camera like the Fuji GX 680 that allows for movements to increase depth of field over the entire frame seemed to be the
given the small size
most sensible choice. Knowing the limitations of its widest available lens, the 50mm, which tends to produce vignettes, when standart movements are needed, I preferred to work with the 65mm lens, which is free from vignetting. The lighting situation in the museum was far from optimum: for one, all miniatures, for reasons of security, are displayed behind thick glass panes making it impossible to illuminate them from outside without causing strong reflections that even a polarizing filter could not completely compensate. More over, Tungsten lights are used inside the miniatures as illumination, and the film used to produce the negatives (Fuji Pro 400H) is balanced for daylight. Thus, it was necessary to put a compensating filter in front of the lens, leading to longer exposure times. Average times were between 20 and 30 seconds, varying with the brightness of the scenes. In total, 25 miniatures were photographed. We then rented a studio in Berlin for green screen photography of the actresses and actors. Prior to those studio productions, the costumes department, managed by Itamar Zechoval, had outlined an overall look for the series and found perfect
garments for all 29 members of the cast – from colorful burlesque dresses and paramilitary sportswear to retrofuturistic uniforms and ancient Roman raiment. After all, the dream had to be as fanciful as possible, yet to some extent plausible. Great attention was paid to special effects and make-up, which had to be both realistic and in tune with the setting of each individual scene. Special FX designer Bella Grigoryants created astonishing full body paintings, most notably for the androids, played by John Robin Wahlström and Katia Fellin. Speaking of actors and actresses: their enthusiasm for the project was truly fantastic. After enduring the long casting procedure, all participants had to engage with the – slightly unusual – story and the part they played in it. On a typical day of principal shooting, we spent half an hour with everyone for a warm-up: rehearsing positions, movements, gestures, mimics, etc. In a way, the scope of production was closer to shooting a movie than to making a series of photographs. with regards to lighting. Each green screen frame had to be lit in sync with the lights and shadows
this was especially true
of the pre-produced background frames. In order to facilitate setup and adjustment, lights manager Marc Maria Orsini had printed the relevant negatives from the museum as a guidance. This proved to be extremely helpful, as it reduced the amount of time needed for post-production. Tungsten floodlights, Fresnels and spots were used as main light sources. In the end, we had exposed more than 70 rolls of film (Fuji Pro 160NS) – again with the Fuji GX 680. The first step of post-production, after film development, contact printing and highresolution scanning, was the adjustment of grain structure of background scenes and portraits. This was achieved by applying a special digital filter on all image files of any given scene, before the respective background and foreground images were put together. In a second step, the intermediate composite image received additional grading: the specific look and feel. No commercial presets were used for the grading – they were individually designed for each scene. Final post-production was managed by Philipp Schmitt, who added special effects to selected scenes, created surfaces and designed textures and skin of the androids.
since the project started. A year’s worth of passion and compassion, devotion and doubts. Without the valuable feedback from peers and critics, friends and family, in various stages of the work, it would have been so much harder to stick it out. I am particularly grateful for the invaluable support by creative director Lena Naomi Krebs, whose inspiration and wit, energy and love have worked wonders – time and again. Special thanks to Dan Ohlmann and Vale´rie Chaix of Musée de cinéma et miniatures in Lyon; to Julius Deutschbauer and Sina Klein from Vienna for writing the essay; to my trusted wizard of lights and shadows, Marc Maria Orsini; to Maximilian Benesch, whose Bluebox studio had the best green screen in town (unfortunately, that wonderful place is now closed); to Philipp Schmitt, whose post-production skills have lifted the pictures to a higher dimension; to Ulrich Hagel and his reliable color film lab; and finally to all marvellous actors and actresses, additional crew members, baklava eaters, coffee and cigarette addicts, late-night shoppers and hashtag haters.
more than twelve months have passed
Dream long and prosper!
Title: Lâ€™attente du soleil Artist: Ronan-Jim Sevellec
Title: Le Barbier Artist: Michel Perez
Title: Le Collectionneur de Brooklyn Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: Time Machine Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: La Chambre Artist: Mathieu Chollat
Title: L’ancien dancing Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: Les Bains d’Asnières Artist: Ronan-Jim Sevellec
Title: Manhattan 1950 Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: La piscine Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: La Cave Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: Le théâtre de Cupidon Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: Times Square Shuttle Artist: Alan Wolfson
Title: Cessation dâ€™activitĂŠ Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: Le Dortoir Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: Les faux monnayeurs Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: Le Relais Artist: Ronan-Jim Sevellec
Title: La soucoupe d’aération du lustre du Théâtre des Célestins Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: La grande salle de restaurant du Paquebot “Normandie” Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: 15ème étage Artist: Dan Ohlmann
Title: L’attente du soleil Artist: Ronan-Jim Sevellec
Cast (in order of appearance): Christian Harting, Tristan Bumm, Cuyén Mai, Thierry Bisso, Dina Hellwig, Georg Raisch, Phillip Sponbiel, Laura Jiménez González, Katia Fellin, Melanie Böhm, K atja Schanz, Torsten Bogadke, Alissa Nogli, Sophie Ammann, Rick Dommsch, Rouven Stöhr, Nora Baresel, Katharina S porrer, Olyana Skrjabina, Dominik H ermanns, Christian Wewerka, D aniela Grittner, B etty Kaplan, Carolin A lbrecht, Antonia C ojaniz, Theresa Storck, Sarah Kim Ulrich, Vera Jacobsen, John Robin Wahlström Make-up and Hairstyling: Chris Bär, Anna McKay Special Effects Make-up: Bella Grigoryants Styling and Costumes: Itamar Zechoval, Evita Hartkopf, Hanna Herrmann, Katja Schanz, Elli Fatale, Fundus Adlershof Original Miniature Scenes: Musée de cinéma et miniatures, Lyon; Dan Ohlmann, Michel Perez, Ronan-Jim Sevellec, Alan Wolfson, Mathieu Chollat
Director of Photography Frank Lassak Creative Director: Lena Naomi Krebs Lights Management: Marc Maria Orsini Light Equipment and Studio: Maximilian Benesch Color Film Processing: Ulrich Hagel Scans and Editing: Efacts Photography Digital Post Production: Philipp Schmitt Book Design and Texts: Julius Deutschbauer, Sina Klein, Frank Lassak, Dominik Arndt Printing: A8 Medienservice, Berlin Online: www.efactsphoto.com © 2019 Frank Lassak / Efacts Photography
LITERATURE Recommended Reading
Anthony Cuthbertson: Mind Reader: Meet The Man Who Records and Stores Your Thoughts, Dreams and Memories; International Business Times (August 29, 2014)
Henry Bromell, Blake Masters: Falling Water; NBC Universal (2016) David Cronenberg: Videodrome; Universal Pictures (1983)
A. Hobson: The Neurobiology of Consciousness; International Journal of Dream Research Vol. 2, No. 2 (2009)
R.W. Fassbinder: Welt am Draht; WDR (1973)
T. Horikawa, M. Tamaki, Y. Miyawaki, Y. Kamitani: Neural Decoding of Visual Imagery During Sleep; Science (April 2013)
William Gibson: Neuromancer; Ace (1984)
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DREAM CONTROL First edition, 2019 ÂŠ 2019 Frank Lassak
The stories and names in this book, related to DC Corp. and the Somniverse, are entirely fictitious. Any resemblance with actual persons, organisations or companies, etc. would be purely incidental and unintentional. This work is protected by copyright in whole and in part. Reproduction or communication of this work in any form or by any means without prior permission from the publisher is illegal and punishable. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of texts and pictures, their performance or distribution, translation, including storage and processing in electronic media. Printed and bound in Germany by A8 Medienservice, Berlin
An Efacts Photography production www.efactsphoto.com
In their new book "Dream Control – When Freedom Ends", Frank Lassak and his team at Efacts Photography describe and visualize the fascinatin...
Published on Jan 21, 2019
In their new book "Dream Control – When Freedom Ends", Frank Lassak and his team at Efacts Photography describe and visualize the fascinatin...