Dangerous Minds continues at De Balie in April with the screening of the latest and most exhaustive documentary dedicated to the discovery and history of LSD.

After documentaries about visionary futurology, the 60’s Black Panther Party and technological progress VS sustainability, it is now time to discuss the impact of the discovery of LSD on 60+ years of counter-culture (and military as much as medical research).

The screening will be introduced by medical historian and psychoactive substances researcher Stephen Snelders.

Thursday 12 April 20.00h at De Balie Amsterdam. Be there or be square!



Martin Witz – Switzerland – 2011

In 1943, the year in which the first A-bomb was built, Albert Hofmann discovered LSD ­– a substance that was to become an A-bomb of the mind. Fractions of a milligram are enough to turn our framework of time and space upside down.

THE SUBSTANCE tells the story of a drug – its discovery in the Basle chemistry lab, the first experiments by Albert Hofmann on himself, the 1950s experiments of the psychiatrists, the consciousness researchers, the artists.

In the Cold War, the US Army begins their systematic experiments with human beings – LSD as a weapon. And then, in the early 1960s, the “miracle drug” escaped from the lab. The psychedelic drug seemed to be tailor-made for drop-outs of the affluent society: the hippies, the protest movement – the counter-culture. The drug apostle Timothy Leary proclaimed his famous line of “Turn on, tune in, drop out!” and hundreds of thousands followed him into a true LSD euphoria. LSD as the fuel of the rebellion?  As a source of free thinking that led even to the development of an independent, ground-breaking computer technology?

Only Albert Hofmann, in the eye of the hurricane, calmly kept on researching. The Swiss scientist had long become a natural philosopher, a quiet visionary of holism.

In 2007 the Swiss Federal Agency for Health once again gave a green light for the clinical use of hallucinogenic substances. LSD as a palliative remedy to provide some relief from the fear that terminally ill patients have of dying? In the year of his 100th birthday Albert Hofmann’s most fervent wish is fulfilled: after for decades of banishment, his “problem child,” as he called it, found its way back into legality. And perhaps it will still become a wunderkind – a legal medication that alleviates human suffering?

THE SUBSTANCE is a journey through time in broad cinematic arcs, with archival material from private sources that have not been released before, newly processed international archives and principal witnesses of the historical events – and obviously Albert Hofmann, interviewed shortly before his death.

Could it actually be possible to find a path to the core of our human existence by means of a chemical?



“Martin Witz’s fascinating film traces the history of the drug, from its early tests, possibly military applications and to its eventual fame as drug-of-choice for the hippie generation, and it is a wonderfully mounted montage of archive footage and interviews that makes for compulsive viewing.” – Screen Daily




Dangerous Minds celebrates the radical and often controversial ideas set in motion by a number of iconoclast freethinkers.

This monthly film+lecture series joins together a complex cast of protagonists as diverse as non conformist philosophers,visionary scientists and militant organizations, presenting their ideas through five dedicated documentaries.

These critically acclaimed international documentaries are introduced by a selection of guest speakers.

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