The third Tonight event featured Joachim Koester. Koester presented a lecture focusing on his fascination for hypnagogia. During the event Koester read his work Nanking Restaurant. Tracing Opium in Calcutta (2006). After this presentation, writer and curator Lars Bang Larsen and Joachim Koester exchanged ideas and thoughts on the subconscious and related themes.
The afternoon was concluded with a contribution by Melanie Bonajo and Janneke Raaphorst who introduced us into the world of the jive.
Nanking Restaurant. Tracing Opium in Calcutta (excerpt)
“Not the opium-eater, but the opium, is the true hero of this tale; and the legitimate centre on which the interest revolves,” writes Thomas De Quincey in his novel Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1822). He continues: “The object was to display the marvellous agency of opium, whether for pleasure or for pain; if that is done, the action of the piece has closed.”
De Quincey did more than merely describe the marvelous power of opium – its ability to induce visions and horrible nightmares. Confessions of an English Opium Eater can be read as a manual, a guidebook with advice, instructions as well as warnings for prospective opium users. De Quincey explains that he prefers to go to concerts under the influence of laudanum, as it stimulates “the sensual pleasure of music”. He sets aside one evening each week for this, and by doing so incorporates into his leisure activities, the consumption of an opium preparation to enhance aesthetic pleasure.