A Guiding Light

Abram S. Lugner

(1925-1989)

lugnerThe technique of phantasmagoric imprinting employed in our shows was first suggested by psychologist Abram S. Lugner.  During phantasmagoric acquisition, information is believed to be imprinted much more suddenly and unforgettably than through conventional intellectual exercise. Analogy has been made to the flashes of insight sometimes gained by humans confronting life-threatening situations.

This approach is only one of many ways Lugner has influenced and inspired Art of Bleeding.

A creative soul and lifelong student of the Anthroposophical teachings of Rudolf Steiner, Lugner brought a uniquely metaphysical approach to his studies in psychology. His radical writings on contemporary culture eventually brought him in contact with the avant-garde world of Viennese Aktionists such as Otto Muehl , whose psychological and communal ideals influenced Lugner’s own system of transformational “re-education.”

Immigrating to the United States in 1985, Lugner began to gather support for the Agharta Institute, a “re-education center” to be built in the desert near Joshua Tree, California.

This dream was cut short four years later, when Lugner was found unconscious in his studio workshop. Though a basic knowledge of first aid might have easily helped him recover, those who discovered him were ill equipped to provide care, and incompetent attempts at resuscitation may have been a factor in his death. In 2001, after the passing of Lugner’s widow, Emma, trustees of the Lugner Memorial launched the Agharta Fellowship, as a means of supporting groups and individuals promoting greater public understanding of emergency medical situations. Since 2004, Art of Bleeding has been a grateful recipient of these funds.

According to the wishes of Emma Lugner, land originally purchased for the Agharta Institute went on to be leased to Tortoise Encounters, a dual-purpose chemical dependency treatment center and wildlife preserve, in which clients’ provide care for endangered desert tortoises as a step toward recovery. Funded by rental income from this property, English translation of Lugner’s massive work, Self as Demiurge/Selbst als Demiurg (1955), is expected to be made available in Spring 2013. This work details his phantasmagoric model of perception as well as his theory of “womb rape,” “akashic cognition,” and “penile retention.”