Demonstration of a Solar Eclipse on the Planet Earth
in November 1940 or 1514

No solar eclipse occurred in November 1940 or in November 1514. Because this plays no role in a simple demonstration of the phenomenon solar eclipse, it may be an accident that the demonstration models throw their shadows on the patch of sky in a picture meant to remind one of a real plane crash in Bolivia in 1940.

The crash of the Juan del Valle, a JU 52 flying for Bolivia, occurred under circumstances which remain unclear, in impassable terrain. It was over a year until the wreck could be found. Because the plane had run out of fuel, there was no explosion, and some of the passengers were able to pull themselves out of the plane. The survivors succumbed to their wounds in the uninhabited area.

It is now assumed that atmospheric turbulences contributed to the crash, perhaps there were other causes. In the confusion of events occurring in ever more rapid succession, poor visual conditions could have been the result of an imagined solar eclipse. Or, it was in truth the coat of the pilot, waving in the wind of the open cockpit, which covered his face so that all appeared black. The evening is a fat bird, - could this be a possible sentence of the pilot? Could he have mistaken his own clothing for a living thing and mistaken the content of a brassiere before him as a magic mountain range? The sound of breaking glass could converge with the perception of the warmth that a hand held before the eyes would radiate.

It can be shown that the closer one investigates the event, the clearer it becomes that no possible connection may be left out of the speculations: Each successive event follows with increasing inevitability at the same time the possibilities of the meaning of each event in the decisive moment seem to be freer. Here the point is reached where he who is asking after the reasons and truths becomes an outsider. The solar eclipse, whether noticed or not noticed, is nothing more than an accidental shift in paints of time with spatial consequences.

As accidental as the succession of events may seem, the short standstill between moments is enough to suddenly stop a passing shadow. The signs that emerge here could remind one of what was called a Saturnalia: Saturn who devoured his children, once raised above time as Chronos, was deprived of his power by his son Jupiter and banned to a sphere ruled by the destructive burdens of passing time. The picture of a dark age of stone was in turn bound to the character of melancholy, as in the well-known etching by Diuet from 1514. In the picture of the provisionally explained plane crash, the black face of Melancholia can be recognized amongst the fictive survivors. Next to her appears a swan on an empty fuel tank. The swan appears in the pictorial world of the Saturnalia as a symbol of overcoming, by William Blake, for example: The darkness of the Saturnalia and of melancholy were supposed to be a necessary passage on the way to a new illumination, that was to exceed all that had gone before it.

However, it can be shown that all attempts to explain events after the fact only obscure the actual indeterminacy of an unfounded event. In the way it can be experienced, the event defies even the obscurest and most absurd context in which it can be placed.

Texts Without Verbs, Cologne 2002, p. 138