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Here’s another lament for the online age – the loss of mystery, and its necessary antecedent, discovery. Or fallacy, and its comforting partner, the suspension of belief.

There’s a line in the David Lynch film Lost Highway in which a character professes his hatred for video cameras. “I like to remember things my own way… not necessarily the way they happened.” Updating that angst for present era, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger from the Oxford Internet Institute talks about the importance of forgetting, on both an individual and societal level. Some things, he says, should stay foggy in the past. Yet digital memory refuses to grant us any pleasant haziness.

He could have also mentioned the importance of suspending belief, or the ability to enjoy a good myth. Take for example the pop-culture myths of the hi-fi era. Like the one about satanic messages being revealed when playing Judas Priest records backwards. Or about Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon being recorded as an alternative soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz. Such legends were gleefully traded on the schoolyard. Today they could be dispelled within seconds by some search-it-all with a smart phone. But the point wasn’t whether the rumors were true or not; it was to enjoy the experience of trying it out for yourself.

The Wizard of Oz legend is a case in point. The Dark Side of the Moon is 42 minutes long, while the film runs for an hour twenty. You have to loop the record to make it run the full length. The plausibility that Pink Floyd synchronized their sound queues not just once, but twice, is off the charts, combined with the band’s flat refusal to acknowledge the whole business.

But whether it’s true or not doesn’t really matter. The value of  the experience, rather, is to replicate the experiments of teenagers of the 70s and 80s who held parties in their family living rooms while their parents were out for the evening, queuing up Dark Side on the hi-fi system and  Oz on the video machine, then sinking into brown leather sofas and acting blown away by whatever tenuous sound-image linkages they could detect.
After all, there are hundreds of cultural rituals we engage in collectively without questioning if they are based on truth, even if some of them are patently concocted. Christmas springs to mind. Or national unity days.

Those who want to take part in a collective enjoyment of a pop-culture myth should attend HBC-Berlin tomorrow evening, when the old Floyd-Oz synchronicity experiment will be revived. HBC is reopening its marvelous 70s-era cinema as a functioning kino this winter. The film collective Berlin Mobile Kino will program a random selection of films each Tuesday night. “The Dark Side of Oz”, as it is being billed, is scheduled as the opening film of the season. Those who would rather hear the original soundtrack (instead of Pink Floyd’s loosely connected sound queues) can bring a radio and headphones to tune into an FM broadcast.

Event info:
“The Dark Side of Oz” – The Wizard of Oz synchronized to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon
Tuesday November 16
Doors open 20.00, film starts 21.00
Venue: HBC-Berlin, Karl-Liebknecht-Str 9
Entry: 3eu