„ It’s time to do one or even one hundred steps forward“ – Flashback Track 2: Higher potentials of drugs, smell and fashion

„Everything is free. We ask you to pay with your brains“, Holm Friebe opened the fourth Digital Bauhaus Summit in Weimar and Benedikt Sarreiter took it literally. In the second track of day 1 presented by Anne Waak the expert on psychedelic drugs answered the question „What will be contemporary?“ by presenting the so called „modern mind“. „Psychedelics are the stuff we have to talk about“, he argued. „The whole Silicon Valley is microdosing to have better ideas. It’s also super hip at the moment for problem solving – even women’s magazines such as Marie Claire wrote about it.“ That LSD is not only a hippie drug has first been realized in the 1930s when LSD became a medicament for psychological treatment. „The discovery of LSD was an important step on the way to explore our minds“, Sarreiter says. But still – since William S. Burroughs wanted to find relief for his depression – nobody knows exactly why psychedelic treatment is so effective and what the side effects are. But one thing we could be sure of as Sarreiter said is „that psychedelic based therapy might come back in the near future and we should realize its high potentials.“

Much space for high potentials has also been created in the second session of track 2 in the early afternoon, last but not least for answering the question how many cells the smell of a piece of cheese is able to activate. „It’s a third of your fucking brain“, perfumer Geza Schön said. Schön, internationally successful creator of Escentric Molecules, has not much to be frightened of but the thought whether we are gonna lose our sense of smell even more is something he has to share with the fellow participants at Neufert Haus. „50 percent of people would give their sense of smell for a piece of technology“, he quotes an actual study. „I’m not the perfume man from the fun fair but this is a very frustrating diagnosis.“ Reasons could be find quickly: „Smell has overcome by technology“, Schön said , „and it’s much easier to share visual things than smell. But this is our choice and we are able to chose not to be as visual as we always are in this extremely digital world.“ It’s a fact that we have those body own drugs called pheromones, which couldn’t work consciously but play those natural tricks for us. If we lose our capacities to smell – where would be the magic? „Smell is the only anarchic sense we have“, Schön stated, „technology shouldn’t be the reason to lose all the beauty this sense provides.“

Apropos beauty: There’s no modernity without fetishism, Freud said. Barbara Vinken, author of „Die Blumen der Mode“ (2016)  and speaker of the last slot at Neufert House, said that we have to discuss wheter we have ever been modern stating a clear misunderstanding of the terms „mode“ and „modernity“. In her impulse speech she described what philosophy did with fashion during the last 400 years since fashion has been stigmatized as the oriental colony in the heart of the West. „There’s no question that there are oriental influences, without it there would be no fashion“, she argued navigating the audience from Pierre Bourdieus discourse of modernity to Rousseaus cry for reforms to Nietzsches redefinition that fashion has never been a symbol of change but of resistance (just have a look at the male suit!) to the first department stores („cathedrals of capitalistic empires“) at the end of the 19th century to Adolf Loos who said that female fashion „is simply a crime and woman is nothing without man.“ But after all what did Vinken plead for today? „Enjoying fashion against the grail of all modern misunderstanding.“

Benedikt Sarreiter / Photo: Thomas Müller
Benedikt Sarreiter / Photo: Thomas Müller
Geza Schön / Photo: Thomas Müller
Geza Schön / Photo: Thomas Müller
Barbara Vinken / Photo: Thomas Müller
Barbara Vinken / Photo: Thomas Müller

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