Jointly released in March 2023 by German labels Fragment Factory and 90% Wasser, the double-disc set Die Versuche des Naum Kotik / Mädchen in schmutzigen Schürzen is a multimedia production masterminded by Column One. Officially the Berlin collective, with its core members Robert Schalinski, Jürgen Eckloff and René Lamp, disbanded in 2016 but this film and accompanying soundtrack prove they are still very much alive and kicking ass. Fact and fiction as well as sound and image playfully interact in this edition. The film Die Versuche des Naum Kotik – here released on Blue-Ray – was put together over a period of more than ten years by the fictitious filmmaker Kärma Burg aka Jürgen Eckloff. The starting point for this comprehensive production spearheaded by Eckloff and co-produced by other members from the Column One circle was the 1907 publication The Emanation of Psychophysical Energy by the Russian neurologist Naum Kotik (who really existed and lived from 1876 to 1920), in which the possibility of thought transference is scientifically investigated. Eckloff himself plays the part of Naum Kotik’s grandson, who tells about the experiments of his grandfather in a non-existent but convincing language, subtitled in German and English. Other scenes in the film are played by Column One members, and yet other ones were constructed through stop-motion animation techniques. The semi-scientific theme of the film, its black and white shots reminiscent of expressionist cinema and its animations which bring to mind the Czech stop-motion experiments of Karel Zeman and Jan Svankmajer, form an enchanting and captivating whole with a distinct mid- to eastern European feel. Add to that the crystal clear soundtrack Mädchen in schmutzigen Schürzen by Column One, which comes as a separate CD in this release, and the beautiful packaging of the two discs by Robert Schalinski, and there is no doubt that this is one of Column One’s finest productions.
Die Versuche des Naum Kotik / Column One – Mädchen in schmutzigen Schürzen comes with four b/w postcards and is dedicated to the memory of Hellmut Köntges-Eckloff (1949-2022).