Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ!
I am very glad to be here and meet you, brothers and sisters. As Gosia [my wife] said, I am by profession a camera operator and producer of documentary films. I am 42 years old, and the happy father of five children.
When I was 14 years old, a world famous bio-energy therapist, named Harris, came to Poland. Harris was renowned for healing disorders that could not be treated by conventional medicine. Hundreds of thousands of people come to see him in churches. However, today I am certain that he is responsible for bringing occultism into Poland. The people who came to him suffered negative effects in their spiritual life. Some of them are probably still suffering the effects to this day.
I also found myself standing in a line to meet him. I was led to him for healing, even though I was an athletic sportsman. After waiting a few hours he placed his hands on my head, mumbled some words and that was it. That is how my experience with him ended at first. However a week later when I went to Mass at church, I lost consciousness. The church was packed with people standing together shoulder to shoulder. So I, a growing boy, had to be carried out feet first, over the heads of the faithful. It was a very traumatic experience. Next week when I went to church, I felt uncomfortable being inside the interior of the church. I moved back closer to the exit and to fresh air. The next week I moved back even further. And in about three weeks, I stood outside the church during Mass. There I met a lot of young people. You can find such youth hanging out outside of churches in Poland [instead of going to Mass]. I found that we had common interests and I stopped going to church altogether. I lied to my parents about the readings at Mass, and this continued for 4 years.
At the age 18, the opportunity to travel outside of Poland came. I was one of the first in my age group to leave Poland. Later on a [whole] wave of youth left [the country]. This was in 1984. In my case I went to Germany and Munich in particular. I lived in that city for the next 20 years.
When I arrived at Munich I did what I knew how to do best. I made a living off playing basketball and training a team of young teens. I lived with two Americans, and very quickly I bought my first car, had new clothes and total freedom. All the things that young people dream of became realities in my life. After two years I found out that I did not have the height or the skill to play in the top leagues. I had to look around for another job.
I ended up working for the Bavarian National Opera Company. This is a huge company of 3000 workers and puts on 160 premiers each year. They also had a huge number of technicians, myself I worked as a lighting technician there for years. At the same time, I learned the language and completed my high school diploma. After 4 years I met an avant-garde stage director. He offered me work and I ended up with his group. For another 4 years we travelled around Europe, and performed some crazy plays. Then I formed my own theatrical group, and we dealt with multimedia shows which were relatively new phenomena then. We worked with music, lights and images. A few more years passed and at the end of the 90s I met a TV director at a party. He produced the German equivalent of a "Blind Date" reality show. He offered me work in the television studios, and I that's how I ended up working for television.
This was an exciting world and a big change in my life. I met a camera operator who was looking for an assistant. He was a French-speaking Swiss [Chris Karp], and he was overjoyed to give me, a young Pole, the opportunity to have a mentor. I worked for 4 years with him before taking the camera in my own hands and starting work as a documentary camera operator.
What I have described so far, was my external life. A life that my family members, friends and acquaintances, envied. They often said, "Look how well his life is going, each year a more expensive car, longer vacations and nicer clothes."
I was very proud of myself. However, internally, my spiritual life declined year after year as I broke more and more of God's commandments.
I was a terrible egoist. I was the type of person who filtered everyone I met and everything I experienced through my own ego. This continued on year after year, as I fell deeper and deeper. Then in the early 1990s I discovered a movement known as techno. The techno movement involves: electronic music generated by computers and often new synthetic drugs. These new drugs can be used for years without parents or teachers noticing that their child or students use them, unlike the older drugs. The older types of drugs were so destructive that in a matter of 2 years, a user could end up in the gutter. [The techno movement] like all youth cultures has its own appearance, its own language and its own fashion. People started organizing events in exciting new places like former mines or former atomic bomb shelters. That was the style of techno back then.
I went with my friends to these various places and partied there. When I still lived in Poland, my musical roots were in electronic music. In the 1970s I would listen to early electronic bands like Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre or Pink Floyd. The techno movement is based on the experiences of these bands.
During one such party, I had the idea to design an acoustic device. This device consisted of 64 speakers that would surround the listener. The idea was that an arbitrary signal could be sent through any speaker. The entire system could be programmed and controlled on a computer. The goal of the system was to stimulate the brain in a similar manner as taking drugs. The endorphins would go to the brain and the dancers would experience waves of pleasure. I (with my friends) wanted to make a club so that part of the music played there would be generated in this way.
My now deceased friend Sasha said that he knew one person who from a theoretical basis could tell us if this system would work or not. I was hesitant about trying out this system myself, because it would require a large investment and need many people to develop the system. Computers back then were considerably less powerful and had fewer capabilities. I was introduced to this person through an avant garde group of youth in the techno movement in Germany. They called themselves "The Partisans." I was introduced to them at a dinner. There were around 10 of them but one of them did not match age-wise with the rest of the group. The majority of the group were between 18 to 25 years of age, while Peter (the man whom I was there to meet) was then 55 years old. All that I knew about him was that he was a film professor at a New York film academy and that he was one of the idols in the techno movement.
We started talking over dinner and I explained my idea. During this time Peter listened very carefully and then he asked questions. With every question he asked, I was more and more astounded. By the end of the conversation, I was sure that his mind was very different from most of the people I had met before. I realized that I was sitting next to a genius. He spoke about many different subjects with ease. He tested how far he could take me intellectually and what my boundaries were. By the end of our conversation, no one else quite understood what we were discussing.
Afterwards he proposed that I go see his work, so two or three days later I went to his workshop. There I saw the type of images he was creating. In the meantime I found out more about him. I found that for many years, he was a famous anarchist in the United States, that he studied the working of the brain with brilliant scientists for a few years. He also created clubs that experimented with lights and music that influenced those who attended and that he was currently working on experimental films that acted on the subconscious of the viewer. These films were shown at huge techno events. That was my first exposure to those kind of films.
By this time working with images had become my world. I lived for my work and was very interested in working with film. Yet the films that Peter showed me there were beyond my wildest expectations. Those images were so intensive and expressive; they literally "entered" into a person. I had never seen anything like that before.
Peter told me that soon a chartered ship would be sailing on the Mediterranean Sea, with 350 people onboard. All of those on the ship were people who directed the techno movement: the top DJs, club owners, people from the record and fashion industries, parade and event organizers. He said that onboard was another camera operator who would be filming the entire event for him. I told him that I was a camera operator. He proposed that I could go instead of the other man and I agreed. A few weeks later my assistant and I landed in Malta, boarded the cruise ship and started filming the event. Peter did not arrive with us but would join us shortly.
There I noticed a few odd things. I noticed that the people there acted as if they were part of the same family. There was a strange unity about them. There was not any kind of aggressive behaviour between each other. They were all young, very creative people who shared ideas and were open to each other. I thought to myself that I had been looking for that for a long time.
Another thing I noticed is that unlike most people who when being filmed either act introverted (shying away from the camera) or extroverted (jumping up and down to be in the shot). Instead these people acted similarly to how primitive people acted when they were recorded. They talked to me directly, as if we were having a normal conversation, even though I was carrying around with me a bulky video camera and lots of equipment. I wondered where the comfort they showed with this particular media came from.
Three days later Peter joined us and we had a chance to look through the filmed material. He looked through it, analyzed the film and questioned me as to why I recorded parts the way I did. Then he said to me, "Look, I've been looking for someone like you for fourteen years. If you want, I can train you personally." Looking back now, I understand what he was trying to do. He basically inflated my ego, to make me feel like I was someone unique. I felt like someone with very unique talents and skills. This is the way he basically bought me.
When we returned to Europe, I started a period of intense training. Peter gave me a lot of books to read and filmed interviews to watch. He directed me towards Zen Buddhism. These interviews were with priests of various religions, astrophysicists, presidential advisers, and futurologists. After watching these interviews, he would discuss them with me for hours and convey ideas he wanted me to have. I also started to go deeper into the techno movement. My judgment and the way I perceived the world started changing. Music surrounded me all the time. I kept on meeting new DJs and listening to the newest music. I listened to music in my car, at home and at events. I started to earn more and more money from the techno scene. I dyed my hair and started dressing differently. I changed from month to month.
In the summer of 1995, I was filming a large event in Berlin known as "The Love Parade." It is now known in Poland (and here probably) from TV. There about a million young people follow floats with large speakers and dance to the rhythm of the music. Afterwards they party all night at clubs. That summer were about 500, 000 people there and I was filming for Peter. All of a sudden while I was filming someone tapped me on the shoulder. I was somewhat irritated because as a camera operator I have to keep track of various parameters and timing of the subject I am filming.
I turned around and asked, "What is going on?" A young man stood there and asked me. "Is your name Lech?" I said, "Yes."
"Are you the first techno camera operator in the world?" he asked. I replied, "If that's what you think of me, then yes." He then said, "Listen, someone is searching for you and Peter."
It turned out that an assistant of Oliver Stone (a well known American director) was looking for us. He was preparing for a big budget film for Warner Brothers Studio that would be about the techno scene. I always use the example that by the end of the 1970s there was a film called Saturday Night Fever (1977) with John Travolta. Many of you older folks probably remember this movie. This film has a funny soundtrack and choreography by today's standards, because 20 years have passed since its release. But what did this movie do?
This movie made the phenomenon of American nightclubs start to appear all over the world almost overnight like mushrooms after the rain. A percentage of the world's youth started to spend their free time going to these nightclubs. Just like the title suggested Saturday Night Fever, the lifestyle of late-night discotheques started. They wanted to create a film that would influence young people in the mid-1990s just as that other movie influenced young people at the end of the 1970s.
At first they were looking for a co-director, for someone who had one foot in the world of film and one foot in the world of techno and so they decided to go to Peter. However once they saw what Peter had to offer and what kind of ideas he had, they offered him the position as director.
For me another crazy period started in my life. I traveled around the world and met people who before I had only read about in the newspapers. I remember that we often sat with George Lucas' staff. Or with Mark Dippe, a supervisor who worked on Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump and The Mask, all of which were cult films back then. We sat at the same table and discussed special effects for the film. I was completely absorbed by this lifestyle.
About this time – my now amazing wife, (this was before we had slept and lived together without being married), told me that she was pregnant and that we would have a child. Well... at first this was not news that made me very happy. Sometime later I went to see Peter and told him the news.
He said, "Listen, the next couple months will require all your attention and energy. Today this is no problem. You go to the hospital, the entire procedure takes 30 minutes and later you can have as many kids as you like."
During that time, like I said, I was a terrible egoist. The only thing that mattered was myself. I would have probably decided to go along with this but Peter's words about my wife stopped me. When he first saw her, he said, "She is so pure." This was so strange coming from him. But whenever I go with her somewhere, everyone there feels so comfortable with her. She is always smiling and full of peace. Why? She had the good fortune being born to a family that loved her and did not wound her. This is very rare since most of us have some bad experiences about our parents or family that have left a scar on us. But she almost never experienced that. Her peace and purity shocked Peter when he first met her. I knew that if we killed that child, Gosia would never be the same girl I fell in love with and still love today. Today I can truly say that I love her but back then I was in love with her. So I said no, and that we would keep the child.
Peter said "OK, Leszek, that's just a small technicality."
He turned the conversation into a joke and I quickly forgot about the whole thing. Then the final job came, to do work in Berlin for the Bumbelsburg Studios. I told my wife, "That is the last film job that I will be doing, after this I'm completely going into the world of techno."
I arrived in Berlin, which was the centre of the techno movement. A lot of artistic and culture events were happening there. After the fall of the Berlin wall, people from all over the world came looking for inspiration: sculptors, photographers, painters and musicians. Also the most important people in techno were there.
Step by step Peter introduced me into the meta-language that the techno world uses. Like most closed groups, they gave a new meaning to symbols, symbols that everyone else understands in a single meaning (context). People in the techno scene introduce double meanings to these symbols. Step by step I learned these symbols.
Soon I noticed something in Berlin that astonished me. Something was changing. I noticed a growing disharmony between the written word and its image. In films, on posters and in publications there still was the message of being together, the message about creating something new and fantastic. But in the imagery, there were more and more hidden symbols pertaining to death. Suddenly DJs started wearing t-shirts with messages such as: "Terror Across the World."
Music with rhythms that were at the limits of what humans can hear, over 160 beats per minute, started appearing. There were more dark sounds, and aggression in events that did not happen before. Destructive drugs like amphetamines appeared, these drugs destroy a person in a short period of time, making them aggressive and thoughtless. I've known people who were completely destroyed after using these drugs.
I asked Peter, "What is happening? I don't like where this heading."
He said, "Don't worry. This is just a stage the group is going through. In a short time everything will be different. Don't worry about it."
Since there was an apprentice-master relationship between us and he had never let me down before, I took this as good advice. We continued the scene for the film and choose locations. The news had gone out that such a film was being made. There was a lot of work to be done and I was busy. In the interim the moment for my child to be born was quickly approaching.
In Poland not many people are aware of this but inside the techno scene throughout the world, there are lot of people seriously involved in occultism like astrology. There are semi-secret faculties in the world where professors of completely unrelated fields teach small groups of people and teach them arcane knowledge that has been passed on over thousands of years.
Around us there were people like that. They said that our child would be someone extraordinary, someone special. This was because there were three astronomic events occurring at the same time that they saw as extraordinary.
Halley's Comet flew in the winter of 1986, like the star of Bethlehem, and was visible for 3 months. This occurs very rarely, once every 75-76 years. After that the planets aligned into a single row and there was a full moon. All these they saw as evidence for this child being special. As the father, I believed willingly and gladly that my child would be someone special.
The time for my wife's labour was approaching...
Translated by Dorian Pula