und da ich noch von Einigen wahrhaft geliebt werde, darf ich nicht niedersinken auf dem Wege, den die Pflicht gegen Alle uns zu verfolgen befiehlt.
Den 14. Juni 1855
The World and Its Inhabitants was first conceived as a miniature circus, a salon divertissement. It is a very intimate, ritualistic form of eighteenth-century parlor activity; an elaborate meal was prepared for around seven guests, with small electrically operated characters presented between courses to aid digestion and invigorate the intellect.
The Ringmaster, passing a substantial current through his body, would activate the characters. The electricity passed through a specially made lead shoe, sensitizing the Copper Governor, which would glide to-and-fro across a lead arc. At a desired moment, the Ringmaster, using specially prepared Flagellum, would transfix the Governor’s movement; instantly, a chosen character would perform its life in three minutes of unrestrained splendor.
The World began with the births of Nextus II (an Ur-figure, akin to Adam), Lucus, Selisious, Gutstus, and now numbers some fifty figures. The characters vary greatly, but all were drawn from three hundred years of history and from all walks of life.
The Copper Governor has a familiar, a facsimile of the counterbalances of John Harrison’s famous H1 marine chronometer. This crafted clock is now used as a method to determine the latitude and longitude of each new character and precisely meter three minutes of energy to each.
On show at Galerie Hubert Winter are new figures, mostly diminutive (like clockmaker’s contrivances), based on historical figures, and displayed in illuminated vitrines: immobile relics of past soirees, each only performing once. This ensemble, now in its fifth decade of development, continues.
Two new pigment prints will depict the twenty-four characters who inhabited the first World (1980–95) and the second cohort (1996–2022), many shown for the first time.
Two vitrines will house the original mask and accoutrements from the World’s first performance, the Ringmaster’s costume, and the machinery from the initial performances.
The back exhibition space of the Gallery Hubert Winter will house some new figures from the World and its Inhabitants which seem fitting to Viennese sensibility.
JM Charcot a great Parisian figure in the development of Neurology and its understanding of distinct mental afflictions, is the central figure depicted as the inner ventricles or hidden void within the human brain. Freud spent four months at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris in Charcot’s neurology service. He was deeply impressed by Charcot’s teachings, and this period proved instrumental in the shift in his interest from general neurology to the study of hysteria, hypnosis and other psychological issues.
In some ways all these figures have a connection to historical, medical phenomenon "Hysteria".
Magdeleine G, a diagnosed hysteric who under hypnotic suggestion became entranced by the music of Chopin and performed the most extraordinary dance sequences, Delphine Seyrig a modern-day hysteric in an eighteenth century setting of L’Année dernière à Marienbad, Léonard Autié, theatrical impresario and hysterical coiffeur for twenty years to former Viennese princess, Marie Antoinette.
Finally… Mercury the son of Jupiter a messenger leading newly deceased souls to the afterlife. Or more importantly an ability to transfer dreams from the valley of Somnus to sleeping humans.
These new figures, JM Charcot, Magdeleine G, Delphine Seyrig “A”, Mercury and Léonard Autié & The Locks of Infringement will fill this back space. A small section will be devoted to the performance aspect of the World and its Inhabitants, with a still photo strip of a recent performance at Duane Park in New York. Léonard Autié will be performed in the Gallery.