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Alexander Hahn «The Bernoulli Itinerary»
Alexander Hahn, «The Bernoulli Itinerary», 1989 – 1994
© Alexander Hahn


 Alexander Hahn
«The Bernoulli Itinerary»

The spine is a neuronal extension of the brain. Even today, the human brainstem continues to recapitulate early evolutionary stages: ‘Light is strongest in the region of the spine. (…) While the body is being dissected, a light begins to shine once more. (…) The fingers of those people who touched the body are covered with light. It is not the flesh itself that becomes phosphorescent, but something hidden beneath the skin. The residues of a centuries-old light.' The speaker on the first monitor reads the foregoing excerpts from the treatise ‘On the Shining of the Sea', written in 1805 by the Swiss researcher Christoph Bernoulli. On the three naked TV tubes suspended in the room, organic-seeming structures are formed and collapse. The removal of the ‘cranium', the ‘dissection' of the monitor, lays bare the electronic basis of the image carrier.
Alexander Hahn has repeatedly addressed the subject of the transience and fleetingness of time and a past that is constantly present in people, often analysing the natural sciences and the writings of scholars of old in the process. This installation, with its contrast of the organic and rational – the text and head of the speaker – is a further example.