Aura Research, Nietzsche's baptizing churchAura Research, Nietzsche's baptizing churchCourtesy ©: Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin, APG-Japan/JAA, 2008EpisodeRoecken, a little village near Leipzig. Friederich Nietzsche, one of the most important intellecutuals of the 19th century, was born here in 1844. Although it is Sunday, the streets seem deserted. Only the library bus stops by, honking loudly. Following Nietzsche’s traces, we easily find the house, where he was born and the church, where he was baptized. Close to the church, there are 3 graves: on the left Friederich Nietzsche’s and in the middle his sister Elisabeth’s. To the right their father, vicar Karl Ludwig Nietzsche, is buried. In the little annex, we meet Mr. Boehmer, who is taking care of the church and vicarage, being paid by a governmental employment programme. “You can’t see anything at Nietzsche’s birthhouse. It ‘s traditionally used as the vicar’s residence, but the position is vacant at the moment. I’ll show you the church later...” He tells us that Nietzsche lost his father when he was 5 years old, two years later his little brother died too. He grew up in a woman’s household with his mother, aunts and sister. As the new vicar arrived, they had to leave Roecken. Mr. Boehmer unlocks the church’s heavy doors. Inside it is colder than outside. We walk across the nave towards the front, looking up to the pulpit, where his father has prayed. The wooden cross on the altar below. The man above the cross. (“Der Ubermensch”) . “Nowadays, nobody climbs up to the pulpit anymore, because it’s quite dilapidated and that’s too dangerous.” We slip out in the sunlight and say goodbye to Mr. Boehmer. “The day after tomorrow, I’ll have to leave too” he says, “as this is only a temporary position, there’s no possibility to extend my contract.”Mr. Boehmer, temporarily employed as caretaker of church and vicarage in Roecken, 1997.
Aura Research, "Nietzsche's baptizing church" 1997
The "Aura Research" series seeks to visualize the human aura, invisible to the naked eye or traditional optical photography, using Kirlian photography*, invented in 1939 by inventor and researcher Semyon and his wife Valentina KIRLIANA in the former Soviet Union. The series' subjects are rooms either previously inhabited by German historical figures or missing owners but maintained by somebody else (in either case, spaces used as a kind of blank state). This work, developed to visualize the invisible, questions anew the history of technology since the 19th century which presumed that psychological activity generated discharges which could be recorded later, and the utopian ideals behind such thinking, at the same time is an attempt at exhibiting visions of other worlds through alternative media. On view from this series is the Kirlian photography taken inside the church in which Friedrich Wilhelm NIETZSCHE** was baptized, along with an optical photo taken from the same position. *A device to make photograms from objects using a high voltage alternating current device. The underlying physics (which make xerographic copying possible) were first by Georg Christoph LICHTENBERG, and later researched by Nikola TESLA.
**Friedrich Wilhelm NIETZSCHE, the philosopher and classical philologist, born the son of a Lutheran pastor in 1844 later came to refute core tenants of Western civilization such as Christianity and Egalitarianism.
Interview with the artist is available in "Voices on LiS."
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ProfileNina FISCHER (b. Emden, Germany, 1965, resident in Berlin and Sapporo) and Maroan EL SANI (b. Duisburg, Germany, 1966, resident in Berlin and Sapporo). These artists have developed projects to explore the social and historical meaning of "ghost"-like subjects, floating in ruins, and "forgotten" places, through media such as film, photography, and installations. They have been active in Japan since the mid-90s, shooting and screening films, and presenting solo and group shows in venues such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. They currently work as Associate Professors at Sapporo City University.