Zoe Beloff ::
The Influencing Machine of Miss Natalija A., 2001

interactive installation, mixed media
dimensions variable
courtesy Zoe Beloff


The installation is based on a case history by the psychoanalyst and early follower of Freud, Victor Tausk. In 1919, Natalija A., a former student of philosophy living in Vienna, came to Tausk complaining that a bizarre electrical apparatus, which she believed was being operated secretly by physicians in Berlin, was manipulating her thoughts. Therapy did not last long. After three sessions Natalija quit, saying that now Tausk too had fallen victim to the »diabolical apparatus,« she could no longer trust him. Soon afterwards -- in 1920 -- he committed suicide.
The installation attempts to materialize Natalija's hallucinations for the viewer while at the same time alluding to the development of real influencing machines, in the form of radio and television in 1930s Germany, extending the definition of psychosis from the individual to society.