During the shooting of Magnetik Pathways, at the ASA Studios in Guimarães, I bought two classics that I had at home, but I felt the need to re-read there: O Banqueiro Anarquista (1922) and Ubik (1969). A few days later, I used words and concepts of Fernando Pessoa‘s turbulent book in the film, but I only re-red Philip K.Dick‘s Ubik after we finished the first phase of the shooting. The story (almost) begins with a door that asks for money every time Joe Chip (the protagonist) wants to use it. And when he doesn’t have money to get out of his own apartment Joe starts to
“unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt’s money-gulping door. “I’ll sue you”, the door said as the first screw fell out. Joe Chip said, “I’ve never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live trough it”.
This absurdist situation reminds me of Kafka and Ionesco, but other readers will trigger other memories. Philip K. Dick propels the book into the avant-garde dimension, without being caught, i.e. he made the publisher (and many readers) believe that Dick was only writing cheap and fast science-fiction, while he was playing with very powerful ideas about reality and what the Humans do with it. For instance, Dick’s concept of normality in Ubik includes drug abuse: only a intoxicated society can fully work in Ubik’s universe. Philip K. Dick was (still is) much ahead of our time concerning the evolution of Humankind and Mutant-kind. In Ubik there are mutants, but there are also anti-mutants who neutralize their powers, working for the Normal People – those who do not have telepathic or telekinetic or precog abilities, and need to defend themselves form beings endowed with this very threatning powers. In world where almost anyone can live an half-life after death, , the reader is confronted with theological questions without realizing it, because he is to busy trying to understand the plot. Dick manages to introduce his points of view (concerning sex, drugs, death and beyond) without any kind of proselitism.
“Ubik: Fresh when you need it. Use it with caution.” This could be a slogan from Ubik, but it’s just one of the many variations that a reader can invent after reading this literally mind-blowing book. One day I hope to make a play out of Ubik, because it has all the potential of the mental theatre I like. Who Knows it will become a film? This reminds me of course of my 23 year old Naked Mind Projekt, a feature about the daily life of the first mutants on Earth… PS: Still waiting for the money to do it… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUBp23FF5Tk
Lisboa, 10 de Maio de 2017
Photo: Ney Matogrosso in Magnetick Pathways