Intersubjectivity: media metaphors, play & provocation

6th international Vilém Flusser symposium
& event series

march 15-19 1997 budapest hungary

Reflections on Flusser
Exhibition at C3 Center for Culture & Communication

Opening of Exhibition and Event Series: March 15, 1997 Saturday, 6pm
C3 Center for Culture & Communication Budapest, Országház utca 9. 1014
open until: april 6, 1997
Curator: Miklós Peternák: Peternák Miklós

József A. Ádám"Pre-View"
Attila Csörgő"Hole-Time"
Péter Kiss "Event Summary: Sum-Over History"
János Sugár"Monstrance Model: Narcissus in the Black Hole"

József A. Ádám "Pre-View"
"Freedom is to play against the apparatus. (Vilém Flusser)"

I. Photoralics, photomanugraphs
The expression photoralics derives from a combination of the words "photo" and "oral."
By opening and closing the mouth, we increase or reduce the amount of light going into the mouth cavity. In line with this, there are two cases in which we may speak about camera obscura pictures: there is a small aperture in the mouth by opening it, or by closing it. In each case, it is just an instant when we are unable to perceive the appearing image. To prove the phenomenon of photoralics, I used light-sensitive materials, and I "fixed" that special moment for the time of exposure in the following manner:
Presenting the photoralic phenomenon with negative film (photoralics - )
Required materials: negative film, photocard, pin
I place the negative in my mouth cavity. I make a hole with the pin in the photocard that I hold in front of my mouth, and via this pinhole, the exposure is made. The following version is simpler:
Presenting the photoralic phenomenon with photographic paper (photoralics + )
Required material: photographic paper
I place a photographic paper in my mouth cavity, then I form a very small gap with my mouth (I purse my lips) for the time of exposure. I can control the size of the "aperture" with a help of a mirror.
The positive technique can be achieved with the tools required for a photogram (light, light-sensitive material, artist). However, with my method of image-making, the "picture" shows perspective and photogram characteristics simultaneously.
This kind of reflected image of "reality" occurs on countless places on the human body. The surface of the body can be examined from similar points of view:
Required material: photographic paper
The method of exposure: I fold my hands together, leaving only a small gap between them. The photographic paper lays between my palms, its light-sensitive surface "facing" the opening. I count these photomanually-prepared pictures in-between handmade works and technical images.

II. Who is in what, what is in whom?
The method of my image-making eliminates the apparatus, together with its program (a machine works like a person). If we turn this thought around, it means that I am an apparatus (a person works like a machine), and my "Flusser project" will be the following:
First of all, I transplant into my pictures the possibilities existing inside me; secondly, for this, I use myself; thirdly, I distribute these pictures in a way that society’s feedback is with me, thus allowing me to continually improve myself. Fourthly, I shall make better and better pictures. Everyone can choose which version they prefer.

III. "Shining slit in the blanket"
My reflected image appears in my own face. Double self-portrait: shows that which is outside -- the surface -- and that which is inside -- the hidden. I take my own photo from inside and outside at exactly the same moment. Before and after the slit.

Counting-out rhyme:
My eye appears before my eyes.
My mouth appears before my eyes.
My mouth appears before my mouth.
My eye appears before my mouth.
You’re it!

Talking is similar to blinking, but rather, even closer to the moving picture: the frames are flashing with short breaks, paired with sound effects. The simplest possibility of multimedia.

IV: Return
The organs of sight, hearing and smell are "passive": they are only capable of one-way direction.
Within these cavities, information is devoured. Eyes snuff in the light, ears snuff in sounds, the nose snuffs in odors (a kind of black-hole).
In contrast, the mouth and hand can show active, as well as passive, characteristics. The mouth swallows the air, food and drink, but at the same time, it also directs without. The thoughts from the brain are formed by the sounding of the sounds, songs and instruments. The hand carries forward the stimuli received materially by the five senses: at the same time, it executes, realises -- like a tool -- the orders, and gives a form to thinking via writing.
"The executors of oral culture" are thus the mouth and the hand. These active objects record the obtained information for the long-term, for the future generations. The eyes and ears control, watch out, receive in, ensure feedback and circulation. From this control, in the case of written text, sight can even be left out (it is possible to write in the dark); in the case of spoken text, however, hearing can also be left out (one can also read a message from the lips).


Attila Csörgő "Hole-Time"

The project is based on the simple, well-known phenomenon of the interference of objects in motion, which is, in a symbolic way, expressed by the wheel, moving forwards and backwards in the moving image. I plan to use two fans turned towards, or put on top of, one another. I will cut their blades, and in their place I will put slotted disks, or well-balanced sticks.
At this point, I would like to note something which perhaps sounds strange: namely that fans have a lot to do with virtuality; however, this is of minor importance from the perspective of their creation. Movement and statics are connected to each other according to a particular logic: the sufficiently high revolution per minute (rpm) creates a virtual calm; the isolation of the participants of the movement (eg., the blades) and the empty spaces separating the participants (eg., the spaces between the blades) is dissolved in the space of revolution and homogenised in a still, translucent surface. We suspect that "the higher the movement, the higher the statics." Along the lines of Euclid, perhaps that may be explained as the perimeter of a circle of an infinite radius, according to hyperbolic geometry.
The phenomenon becomes more complex when the cycling movements cooperate. For example, in the case of the revolving slots (sticks), when the continuous intersections (interference) make the participants of the movement visible, what becomes visible depends on the relative position of the revolving movements (complete or partial covering), as well as that of the ratio of the velocities. From the interaction of two "motionless" objects, motion can emerge. This occurs in a new, virtually common space of revolution. This is how image comes into existence.
My intention is to create one line as the common image of the two cycling movements, which behaves like the hand of a clock. This means that the slots (sticks) would intersect each other only once within one revolution; however, not always at the same place, but rather continuously shifting. This need not faithfully follow the awkwardness of the "time-measuring" standard secondhand of a clock; it is enough to refer to measurement, as well as to the fact that time can be visualised by the interference of the velocities.


Kiss Péter "Event Summary: Sum-Over History"

I feel the light on my skin -- it is the subject of debate -- and I feel the UV rays even more intensively. After becoming sunburned, the pigments of my skin color me brown -- my first photograph. The spectra of elecromagnetic radiation, although perceptible to the eye, are invisible unless there is something (somebody) that blocks their way and reflects them partially or completely. This changes their energy and direction; therefore, they first have to be gathered and, to get a picture, a plane (or curved surface) has to be placed at right angles to the "arranged" beam of rays. To protect the rays from extinction, this should be carried out in the dark. After our image is projected, the second, but by no means less important, step comes. By the process of "developing, fixing, assesment," we can see the picture of the light.
The above-mentioned process takes place many times, back and forth, in my work, while the picture of my retina, hidden by my black box, appears on the spectator’s (my) retina, waiting in the dark. In reverse from the spectator, the process looks like this, or more precisely, is reflected like this: the rays of the image of my retina step out of his/her retina through his/her pupils, and then they are projected back divergently to the plane of the wall. From there, they step back convergently into the objective, so that they finally find their place, appropriate to their wavelength, on the diapositive of my retina. Or more simply... -- vice-versa.
In fact, an artifically-generated effulgence, the light of an electric flash, projects the slide of my retina, chosen by the viewer, through the objective to the suface. The time-period of this light-radiance is extremely short -- approximately 1/1000 of a second, so there is little time to interpret the projected image -- just as much time as was needed for its production.

"The points of the thread"
It might be interesting to make a "few" photons fly with smaller or greater energy, ie., wavelength, or just to let them be reflected, absorbed into the appropriate materials. How can we entrap, preserve them, or, conversely, how can we induce them to show, to radiate the dropped hidden traces?! What laws -- whom -- can we thank for their capture, for their storage, and for their artifical production? It is, rather, natural.
The sun is shining. There are green leaves on the trees. The tree casts a shadow.
Projected to my fovea centralis, the light produces chemical and electric signs in my light-sensitive cells - cones (red, green, blue), rods (photon-counting). On the pathways of ganglion, bipolar, amikrin cells, ending in one point, the stimulus spreads to my interpreting center -- "I put it together" -- I see it from the shadow...

I make it into a picture to prevent forgetting. I can only do it with itself on its own, with its inorganic and organic compounds, together with its electricity, its magnetism, its quanticity. I show it together with the rays of the sun, the lightning-bug, the candle, the filament gas, the cathode tube, the liquid crystal, the laserbeam. Green light... chemical chain-reaction... electric potential... photosensitive film... liquid crystal... their common point, or fluctuating "thread," is a tiny particle. In spite of that, the lightest-weight particle determines the chemical characteristics of atoms and molecules through its interaction with the nucleus and the other particles. When it is induced and "jumps" to a lower energy level, the energy level betwen the starting and the final state is emanated in the form of a quantum/photon.
...Its threshold temperature is 5.930 billion K, it is stable and belongs to the family of leptons, just like the photon....


János Sugár "Monstrance Model: Narcissus in the Black Hole"
web installation

This is not merely meant as an artwork but as a cognitive situation in which the viewer can confront his/her everyday experiences via Web technology. My hope is that this demonstrates on the one hand the fragility of our (mirror) images, and on the other hand, a new kind of "visibility" - the piece is visible, and also has a view via the Web. The notion of open artwork (the so-called opera aperta) achieves a new dimension if, in the normal, visual, artistic language, or in the material-conceptual environment, that which the World Wide Web represents intrudes/appears. The works can be viewed from the Web, offering a different experience from the one which exists in the exhibition space -- this added dimension creates the openness. There is a comma-shaped hole (cca. 60cm) in the gallery wall with a stepladder beneath; above the hole there is a lamp (the tail light of a Ford Fiesta). When someone climbs the stepladder and looks into the hole, a sensor activates a lamp and a camera takes a still picture of the viewer. The image is then sent to the Web, and the viewer can peer into a hole, where they see an on-line computer displaying a Website with their image. The viewer can then see his/her computer image in the hole, as if in a mirror, reflecting from the Web, but mirrored digitally. Around the monitor, randomly appearing words from the nettime-l, the nettime screensaver are projected by a beamer onto the background. If someone visits the Website from outside, the light above the hole starts to blink. The piece requires the construction of a smaller Website, where people visiting this site can see the faces of the actual viewers.

Slow and Public Mirror
Looking into the mirror is a daily experiment. "We are heroes without heads; we can see everybody’s head except our own." (Frigyes Karinthy)
The "mirror" installed in the gallery, on the one hand refers to the placement of the monstrance: we are looking for us in it; on the other hand, it suits our requirements about the mirror. However, it takes a while until we can see ourselves. We have to wait. It takes some time until our reflected image appears, and this distance has meaning.
This mirror is a slow one; it is not for daily use, and possesses a new flow of meaning, through the whole of delay, which is indicated by the technology. During the technical delay between the act of looking at the mirror and the appearance of the image, our reflected image becomes public: anybody can see our own reflection. A number of us are looking at myself.



Intersubjectivity: media metaphors, play & provocation
Advisory Committee:
László Beke, director, Műcsarnok;
Wolfgang Meissner, director, Goethe-Institut Budapest;
Matthias Müller-Wieferig, Goethe-Institut Budapest;
Miklós Peternák, chair of the board, C3;
Zoltán Sebôk, theoretician; J.A.Tillmann, theoretician;
Organizers:Suzanne Mészöly, program director C3
Ágnes Veronika Kovács , program coordinator C3
Adele Eisenstein, program coordinátor C3

See the Goethe-Institut Budapest website on Flusser Symposium:

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