It is clear that the strongest single influence on Bruthalia has been the plays of Howard Barker, and people who are familiar with Bruthalia continue to associate us with him. Even with "The Dwarf," members of the audience would comment on the Barkerian universe. Rather simply put, Barker's thesis is that it takes a catastrophe to bring out the true nature of the individual, and that what is revealed is not kindness and sense, but rather beauty and paradox. These in turn generate desire and alienation, those two great causes of historical and political catastrophe. And so the circle is complete and the juggernaut of history winds on. The UNABOM project is the continuation of Bruthalia's exploration of the paradoxical in history and politics. If Bruthalia may be said to have a mission, it is to expose common sense as inadequate, unworthy, and quite simply an idiot's agenda for understanding the mysteries of human behavior!

Yes we do want to understand Kaczynski, but not too well, and certainly not as a psychological specimen. We have to maintain a distance, and let his ideas and actions speak for themselves on the stage. We have to respect the modesty of this theoretical scientist who would have preferred his ideas to remain de-personalised, unpolluted by the image of the hairy mountain man, and, especially, not compromised by any insinuation of madness.

Of course this strange personality was not forged in a vacuum. Not only is he a product of the turbulence of the sixties, but in his rejection of society for the solitude of nature he reveals a much earlier influence. Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862), philosopher, author, and naturalist was the first American intellectual to make a sacrament of living alone in a cabin in the woods. He is known for his book, "Walden," which relates those experiences, and for his essay on Civil Disobedience. Kaczynski is a classic Thoreauvian, albeit far more militant, less flexible, and with a great deal of bitterness bound to his romanticism!

And here, in his desperate response to a mad society we see the story that needs to be told, the story of a man confronting his own powerlessness in the face of an anticipated technological catastrophe. He who was raised and educated to be an integral part of that catastrophe, is denied participation by the edicts of his own conscience. Like St. George confronting the dragon, he makes a desperate choice about whether the end justifies the means, and embarks on his hero's journey. His journey takes him from the establishment to the outer fringe, from being an obscure nerd to being a publicity hound, from being a passive theoretician to being a violent activist. And eventually his journey takes him back again from the freedom and isolation of the Montana woods to incarceration in a high security prison cell scanned by closed circuit television cameras. But in spite of ending up in prison, TK's life can hardly be seen as a failure. Very few independent thinkers have been so successful in bringing their ideas to such a wide audience.

(And he must have had some fun on the way! As a child he had been a prankster, entertaining the neighbours with his clever explosions. There is something deliciously absurd in blowing things up. As if it shouldn't be like that. As if it shouldn't be possible for things to disappear just like that, POOF, like some pure act of imagination. The universe becomes vulnerable. Its laws lose their authority.)

As he sees it, his maimings and killings were necessary manipulations of the media and other public institutions. He made the FBI itself an agent of his propaganda machine. As Thoreau wrote, "I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make use and get advantage of her as I can, as is usual in such cases." We too are not exempt, for even now he is manipulating our curiosity to promote his ideas. Even this project is somehow an extension of his master plan.

And what of his ideas, what of his manifesto? Has this notorious serial killer bent his evil genius to the task of polluting our minds with his toxic thought-viruses? In fact he makes some very important points that contribute to the growing debate over the dangers of runaway technological progress. The issues he addresses are receiving more and more exposure in the popular media. Recent issues of both "The Economist" and "Press" have devoted their cover stories to the dangers of gene technology. Major trade wars between the United States and Europe are looming on the horizon because the World Trade Court does not seem to be able to resolve their unequal enthusiasms for agricultural technologies. Kaczynski's catastrophe is slowly becoming ours.

Level Up

2001: Den Yderste Stilhed
Additional Information:
Categories: 2001: Den Yderste Stilhed | Events and Exhibitions | Performances / Scenographies
Type: Documents
Dates: 2001
Locations: Jomfru Ane Teatret, Aalborg, Denmark | Entréscenen, Aarhus, Denmark | Husets Teater, Copenhagen, Denmark | Gallery Galschiot, Odense, Denmark | Odense Teater Sukkerkogeriet, Odense, Denmark
Co-operators and Helpers: Birgitte Hansen | Jennifer Cook | Jens Klastrup, lysdesign | Jonathan Paul Cook | Jonny Wartel | KETT LÃœTZHØFT JENSEN | Kitte Wagner | KLAUS EGGERT | KLAUS SØNDERGAARD | Lane Lind | MADS NØRBY | MAJBRITT JOHANSEN | Martin Craggs | PEDER HOLM JOHANSEN | Tom Valentin
Partners: Bruthalia Teatret
Sponsors: Teaterrådet