Psychonautic   Austria   1986

Konrad BECKER  

At the highpoint of the discourse about the ?mediality? of images in the middle of the 1980s, Konrad Becker created an early counterdraft to the cult of technical image production with ?Psychonautic?. With ?primitive? music and tribal performances, a stale, archaically organised primal or underworld is invoked, apparently contrasting with the smooth surface of the then emergin g industrialised video and video clip production.
?Psychonautic? consists of three performances, ?Wissenschaftliche Sensationen? (Scientific Sensations), ?Parzival? and ?Barbarische Riten? (Barbaric Rites) from the years 1983-85, all defined by a common theme. The videos show edits of Punk/Noise concerts with a particular stage setting, where Konrad Becker appears as a singer and performer. The stage is completely styled as an urban graffiti zone, strongly reminiscent of the strict 1980s aesthetic of Keith Haring, yet also quotes primeval cave interiors or Egyptian ornament. Beckers? performance or this theatrical spectacle takes place in front of this backdrop, as also in the case of Parzival, with material from Occidental high culture. The rapidly changing rhythm develops through short edits using simple computer techniques, in which single images or shots may often not be visible to the naked eye. In ?Psychonautic?, pop-cultural or deep-seated popular myths are subject to a symbolic new reading, with a clearly ironic undertone. ?Manipulation of symbols on a psychosocial level? (Konrad Becker). The underlying themes are abruptly demolished and subjected to musical and scenographical recycling, which seems to lead the mythical content of the material back to its place of origin, in undefined prehistoric areas.
Beckers? interest in investigating the origins of ?virtual reality? beyond the computer concept is already manifested in these early works. Viewed in this way, ?Psychonautic? also attains the character of an anti-manifesto to the emerging media discourse. In addition to the analogue pictures, even ?old-school? craft painting is used for the stage sets. A straightforward Punk attitude becomes apparent, which through the directness of expression provokes a critical commentary on a cultural situation.

(Patricia Grzonka translated by Sofia Hultén)


Präsentation Blau Gelbe Galerie, 1986

Blau-Gelbe Galerie, NÖ Landesgalerie, Wien, Austria


33min stereo color PAL

Technical protocol

U-Matic SP (recording), Video VHS (copies); Computergraphics

The material contains three performances: Scientific Sensation (Science Fiction-Pop), Parzival (1983, Szene Wien), Barbaric Rites (1985); Other technical devices: Video VHS, Synthesizer, Commodore C64


Konrad Becker

Post production

Konrad Becker

Copy to see

Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, St. Pölten

Ritual, Spiel und Realität