by Valentin Sidorenko

My interest in fortune telling was started from thoughts about predestination of the life. I admitted it and was afraid of it at the same time. It seemed that a person has a choice. I decided to find out my fate through palmistry to overcome this fear. Having learned my past, present and possible future, I continued to believe in the influence of a person on his life, in the ability to choose.

I looked at the frozen lines on my hands. Lines – the time stopped at the moment of our birth. I wanted to talk to someone about this, and I began a dialogue with people who can no longer change their lives.

In the project, I put archival prints of famous people of XIX-XX centuries together, made by palmists: M. Raschig and L. Hamon. I began to ask myself: musicians, physicists, artists, actors, politicians – each took a decisive step in their path, but what if it were different?

Aldous Huxley – Annie Besant
Aldous Huxley was an English writer. The author of nearly fifty books, he wrote novels, such as Brave New World (1931), set in a dystopian future; nonfiction works and wide-ranging essays. Also he was interested in parapsychology, philosophy, meditation, psychedelic drugs and mystical experiences. Later he published a book “The Doors of Perception”.

Annie Besant was a British theosophist. In the end of 19 century after reading a book “The Secret Doctrine”, she clairvoyantly investigated the universe, matter, thought-forms, and the history of mankind, and was a co-author of a book called Occult Chemistry. Also she was interested in women’s rights activism and supported of both Irish and Indian self-rule. She became involved in politics in India, and took over as president of the Indian National Congress in 1917.

Sarah Bernhardt – Louise Brooks
Sarah Bernhardt was a French stage actress. She was the illegitimate daughter of Judith Bernard, a Dutch Jewish courtesan, a prostitute with a wealthy or upper-class clientele. Sarah didn’t want to be a courtesan, like her mother, and became a stage actress who made several theatrical tours around the world, and was one of the first prominent actresses to make sound recordings and to act in motion pictures.

Louise Brooks was an American film actress and dancer. She starred in seventeen silent films and eight sound films. Brooks declared bankruptcy in 1932. After an unsuccessful attempt at operating a dance studio, brief stints as a radio actor, a gossip columnist and working as a salesgirl, she lived as a courtesan with a few select wealthy men as clients.

Albert Einstein – Louis Armstrong
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist, who developed the theory of relativity. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. From an early age Einstein developed an appreciation for music, and later wrote: “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music”. He often performed violin chamber music for private audiences and friends during all his life.

Louis Armstrong was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist who was one of the most influential figures in jazz. Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American in an America. Despite successful career, he spent his youth in poverty in a rough neighborhood known as The Battlefield. In his early life he did odd jobs, sold coal and newspapers.

Adolf Hitler – Kathe Kollwitz
The Leader of the Nazi Party Adolf Hitler in his early adulthood earned money by painting and selling watercolors of Vienna’s sights. He applied for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna but was rejected twice. The director suggested Hitler should apply to the School of Architecture, but he lacked the necessary academic credentials as he had not finished secondary school.

Kathe Kollwitz was a German artist, who worked with painting, printmaking and sculpture. She was the first woman who was elected a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts. She was a committed socialist and pacifist, who was eventually attracted to communism. In 1933, after the establishment of the National-Socialist regime, authorities forced her to resign her place on the faculty of Academy. Her work was removed from museums. Although she was banned from exhibiting, one of her “mother and child” pieces was used by the Nazis for propaganda.

Rene Clair – William Stead

Rene Clair was a French filmmaker. In the 1930s he was widely seen as one of France’s greatest directors, alongside Renoir and Carne. Clair began his career as a journalist at the left-wing newspaper L’Intransigeant. Thanks to his journalistic acquaintances, he met with famous film figures and started his film career.

William Stead was an English newspaper editor and a pioneer of investigative journalism. He was well known for his reportage on child welfare, social legislation and reformation of England’s criminal codes. 10 years before his death Stead became interested in spiritualism and claimed to be in receipt of messages from the spirit world. In 1909, he established Julia’s Bureau, where inquirers could obtain information about the spirit world from a group of resident mediums.

William Gladstone – Swami Vivekananda
William Gladstone was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In his childhood he was educated at a preparatory school at the vicarage of St. Thomas’ Church at Seaforth. He hoped he would make the church his profession, but his father resisted. However, he continued to reflect on the philosophy of religion and write etudes on theology.

Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk, a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. In his early life he was trained in Indian classical music, and regularly participated in physical exercise, sports and organised activities, he passed the Fine Arts examination, and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1884.

Fritz Lang – Marcel Duchamp
Fritz Lang was an Austrian-German-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional film producer and actor. He was born in Vienna as the second son of Anton Lang, an architect and construction company manager. After finishing school, Lang briefly attended the Technical University of Vienna, where he studied civil engineering and eventually switched to art.

Marcel Duchamp was a French-American painter, sculptor and writer, whose work is associated with Cubism, Dada, and conceptual art. In 1918, Duchamp took leave of the New York art scene, and went to Buenos Aires, where he often played chess. Upon his return to Paris in 1923, Duchamp was, in essence, no longer a practicing artist. Instead, his main interest was chess, which he studied for the rest of his life to the exclusion of most other activities.

Max Planck – Arthur Sullivan
Max Planck was a German theoretical physicist whose discovery of energy quanta won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. In his childhood, Planck was gifted when it came to music. He took singing lessons and played piano, organ and cello, and composed songs and operas. However, instead of music he chose to study physics.

Arthur Sullivan was an English composer. His works include operas, major orchestral works, choral works and ballets. While recognizing the boy’s obvious talent, his father knew the insecurity of a musical career and discouraged him from pursuing it. His father was a military bandmaster, clarinettist and music teacher. Still, Arthur became a musician, but just like his father, he was also attracted to orchestral music and hymns.

Marlene Dietrich – Leni Riefenstahl
Marlene Dietrich was a German actress and singer. Before becoming an actress, Dietrich danced tap dance, cancan and tango at a night cafe in Germany. Before the Nazi dictatorship, she left her country, having signed a contract with a Hollywood company.

Leni Riefenstahl was a German film director, producer, screenwriter, photographer and actress. She fell in love with the arts in her childhood. Her mother gave her full support, unlike her father. Her father instead wanted to provide his daughter with an education that could lead to a more dignified occupation. She took up dancing, in the 20s she had an acting time, after which, as a director, she worked in Germany during the period of Nazi Party.

Robert Bundy – Charles Russell
Robert Bundy was an American serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls. In his early years he finished University of Washington as a psychology major and matriculated at Seattle University School of Law later. Also he was involved in some election campaigns.

Charles Russell was an Irish statesman of the 19th century, and Lord Chief Justice of England. He was the first Catholic Lord Chief Justice since the Reformation. He studied at the diocesan seminary, St Malachy’s College, Belfast. His three sisters all becoming nuns and his brother was ordained as a Jesuit priest. He then entered the law offices of Messrs Denvir, Newry, in 1849, and of O’Rourke, McDonald & Tweed, Belfast, in 1852.

Alban Berg – Thomas Mann
Alban Berg was an Austrian composer of the Second Viennese School. His compositional style combined Romantic lyricism with twelve-tone technique. Berg was more interested in literature than music as a child and did not begin to compose until he was fifteen, when he started to teach himself music.

Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, and the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. His highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas are noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. He first studied science at a Lübeck gymnasium, then attended the Technical University of Munich, where, in preparation for a journalism career, he studied history, economics, art history and literature.

Mark Twain – Amelia Earhart
Mark Twain was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. Among his novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called “The Great American Novel”. He always wanted to be a traveler. By his own admission, he would have worked as a pilot on a steamer all his life, if civil war had not put an end to private shipping in 1861.

Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. During World War I, Amelia worked in a hospital. After the war, she was preparing to devote her life to medicine, but instead became a traveler and the first woman pilot to fly over the Alttic Ocean.