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A World Redrawn: Eisenstein and Brecht in Hollywood
Published September 27, 2016 by Christine Burgin
152 pages
Available from Amazon

A World Redrawn is an exploration by the artist Zoe Beloff of Sergei Eisenstein and Bertolt Brecht’s experiences in Hollywood in the 1930s and ‘40s, what their time in Hollywood meant to them then and what it might mean to us now. Beloff focuses on two unrealized films written during this time: “Glass House” by Eisenstein and “A Model Family” by Brecht.

The book reproduces many important and little-known documents from the period, including a large selection of previously unpublished drawings by Eisenstein discovered by Beloff in the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art in Moscow and facsimile reproductions of the writings of Eisenstein and Brecht as they contemplate the politics and culture of Hollywood.


Beloff created three films in connection with this project and the book includes stills and screenplays for these projects and links so that the films can be watched online. Two scholarly essays have been commissioned for this project: an essay by Hannah Frank on the affinities of American and Soviet animation during this period and a meditation on the role of laughter in the work of Bertolt Brecht by the Walter Benjamin scholar Esther Leslie.

Read a review from Film Comment

dreamer book

 

Albert Grass The Adventures of a Dreamer
Published November 2010 by Christine Burgin
53 color pages
Available from Amazon

This hand-drawn prototype for a comic book, appears to have been created by Albert Grass, founder of the Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society in the 1930’s. It seems possible that he originally intended "The Dreamer" as a comic book hero in the mold of "The Spirit", or even "Superman" with extraordinary powers but this conception quickly changed. By episode three "The Dreamer" looses his ability to fly, landing on the ground with a loud "ouch!". He remains earthbound and the work becomes a more serious investigation into his own psychic life.

Many of Albert Grass’ anxieties speak directly to us today. He suffered the aftereffects of a brutal war. He worried about his neighbors being evicted. He felt the guilt of an artist who feels he should be more deeply engaged in a struggle for social justice. Previously unpublished, this facsimile edition makes available for the first time what appears to be an early attempt to use the language of the comic book to graphically manifest the unconscious.

DREAMLAND: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and their Circle
Published July 2009 by Christine Burgin
128 pages with 75 color illustrations and DVD
Available from Amazon.

On the afternoon of August 28th 1909 Sigmund Freud visited Coney Island’s famous Dreamland amusement park. A hundred years later this, lively and imaginative book examines his legacy in Coney Island. It begins with Norman Klein’s reconstruction of his actual visit. However Freud’s real impact appears to have come later with the founding of the Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society. Zoe Beloff conjures up the world of this unique Society, whose forward-thinking attitude flourished from1926 through the early 1970s. The Society’s members, most of them working people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, wished to participate in one of the great intellectual movements of the 20th century. She explores their activities that included recreating their dreams on film and discusses the role of the society’s visionary founder Albert Grass who attempted to rebuild Dreamland according to Freud’s theory of dream formation.

Aaron Beebe, director of the Coney Island Museum, writes how his institution is reviving the idea of the living museum, that dates back to the early 19th century where art, science, spectacle and speculation coexist under one roof. Amy Herzog’s essay, “Primal Scenes: Sigmund Freud, Coney Island, and the Staging of Domestic Trauma” discusses how Freud’s theories can give us a deeper understanding of public’s fascination with some of Coney Islands unique attractions that include Liliputia, Baby Incubators and the World In Wax Musée.

The book is lavishly illustrated with 75 full color pictures of never before seen photographs, drawings and documents that shed new light on Coney Island’s mythic history. Included with the book is a DVD compilation of nine of the Society’s “Dream Films”.View the Society's award winning "Dream Films here.

About the Authors
Zoe Beloff an artist who is particularly fascinated by attempts to graphically manifest the unconscious processes of the mind. Aaron Beebe is an artist and director of the Coney Island Museum. Amy Herzog is an Associate Professor Media Studies at Queens College. Norman M. Klein is a cultural critic, and both an urban and media historian, as well as a novelist.

THE SOMNAMBULISTS: a compendium of sources
Published Fall 2008 by Christine Burgin
114 pages with black and white illustrations and DVD
Now available through Amazon

The book is a collection of essays and images that inspired Zoe's video installation, “The Somnambulists” 2008. Comprised of five miniature wooden theaters into which moving images are projected, her work centers on the idea of "staging the unconscious”. Each theater presents a hysterical drama. These include “History of a Fixed Idea” and “A Modern Case of Possession” in which two patients of the famous French psycho-pathologist Pierre Janet, express their delusions in song. Other theaters present the ghostly specters of actual hysterics filmed by doctors a hundred years ago.

The texts and images included in the book illuminate the complex interweaving of ideas from psychology, writing, performance, art, and moving-image technology at the end of the 19th century. It begins with an introduction to the "Players," brief biographies of the scholars, artists, and performers who appear in this volume. The texts include Pierre Janet’s case study of the writer Raymond Roussel, the Surrealists celebration of hysteria as the greatest poetical invention of the 19th century in “The Fiftieth Anniversary of Hysteria” and the pioneering psychic researcher Frederic W.H. Myers’ commentary on Janet’s contribution to the discovery of the unconscious.

Also included are rarely seen photographs by Albert von Schrenck Notzing of artistic production under the influence of hypnosis including images of the celebrated dream dancer Magdelaine G.

Included with the book is a DVD-ROM in which a demo version of Zoe's installation can be viewed as an interactive work for Mac and PC.

You can explore the contents of the book and DVD by going to The Somnambulists.