User:Zalán Szakács/thesisoutline3

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Thesis Outline

An analytical essay exploring related artistic, theoretical, historical and critical issues and practices that inform your practice, without necessarily referring to your work directly.

How are media objects interpreted as phantasmagoria in the contemporary context?
Exploration of the integration of new media and technologies in spiritualist contexts


Supernatural / Media Archaeology / Human Perception / Light



I have been VJing since 2012 starting in the underground rave parties of Vienna and moving up to club and festival nights later on. This year I took new steps in my audiovisual practice and was more interested in the conceptual and perceptional approach behind my visuals. How can I play with space, brightness, time and perspective? How can I create an dialogue between the sound and the visual, while only using very minimalistic formal language?
In 2017 at my 360 degree projection mapping performance in La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris I realised, how much impact light has on the audience, if it surrounds them from all the sides and creates an embodied experience. During this summer I performed at two festivals: Dekmantel in Amsterdam and Atlas Electronic in Marrakech. This two underground electronic music festivals had a lot in common, but as well differentiated a lot from each other. My contribution as a visual jockey was to adapt to specific stage setups: Dekmantel festival main stage had an 80 meters long half curved LED wall, and at Atlas Electronic the main stage was an amphitheater with a terracotta wall on which the visuals were projected. Through working as an VJ assistant for the dutch light artist, Arnout Hulskamp at Dekmantel festival I understood the time factor related to space. The animations had to have an impact on the LED wall, but as well for the audience. One clip couldn't just cross the 80 meters in 2 seconds–it needed to be perceived almost in the physical sense. My first encounter of the physical characteristics of the light was at Atlas Electronic festival, where I projected a white cone and through the smoke it created a tunnel between the lens of the projector and the display wall. This discovery lead me to a new fascination of how can I encompass more spatial illusions and dissorientation by only using three main elements such as a dark space, light and smoke. I set this idea into practice during my audiovisual performance in a vault of a bank in Eindhoven, where I projected only vertical and horizontal lines into the space and controlled the right amount of smoke, so suddenly the graphical lines transformed into physical space dividers. To my biggest surprise the audience started to interact with the light beams and wanted to touch them while dancing. During this performance there were moments, when I created total darkness in the space by turning off the projector totally, and at climax moments, when the DJ dropped the beat I turned on on full brightness. The audience experienced different visual stimuli from excitement till anxiety. This made me realise that I would like to explore more the power of light on human perceptions and to understand the contemporary fear.


Imaginary & Real (Chapter I) (Media Archaeology)

  • Uncanny - Sigmund Freud
  • Gods and Ghosts - Smoke in relationship with Gods and Ghosts,The discovery of Magic Latern - Christiaan Huygens
  • Metaphysical Symbolism - Athanasius Kircher and Gaspar Schott pressed the laterna magica into the service of the Jesuits’ propagatio fidei in order to put the fear of God into their audiences by illuminating the devil

Supernatural (Chapter II) (Media Archaeology)

  • Phantasmagoria, an audio-visual dialogue between the dead and the living
  • Phantasmagoria Analysis (more detailed description)
  • Before 1750, Edme-Gilles Guyot in 1170, Christlieb Benedikt Funk in 1783, Johann Samuel Halle in 1784, Johann Georg Schröpfer in 1739 (Smokeprojection), Johann Georg Krünitz in 1794, Paul Filidort in 1790, Robertson in 1798 - critic on robertson
  • Themes of the Phantasmagoria (supernatural of the 18th century: demons, skeletons, ghosts)
  • Drawing parallel between paranormal of the 18th century and our times (Gramophone, Film, Typewriter - Friedrich Kittler)
  • What is the supernatural of our society?
    • How could technology enable supernatural experiences?
  • Exploration of the integration of new media and technologies in spiritualist contexts
  • The role of belief(s) in the use of and interaction with digital technologies
  • Light as a communication media - How was light used a communication media to teleport the spectator into a temporary reality of the supernatural?
  • What is the abstraction of the supernatural nowadays?

Perception (Chapter III) (Psychology)

  • Light is the stimulus that influences most the human perception (Flicker Effect, Ganzfeld Effect, Afterimage (Goethe, Gustav Fechner, Hermann von Helmholtz, Kurt Hentschläger), Dream Machine (Brion Gysin)
  • How does our brain perceives the visual effects through the human eye? (Focus on human perception)
  • Eye and camera
  • Perceptual psychology
  • Laws of gestalt
  • audio and light - one can’t be without the other
  • Fear in the collective (how could darkness strength the collective feeling?)

Immersion & Interaction (Chapter IIII) (Technology)

  • How do new sensory installations allow for new forms of experience and understanding?
  • To what extend is politically correct to influence and trigger human emotions through light?
  • Audiovisual embodied experiences
  • Cyberspace (Dan Graham)
  • Cybernetics (Gordon Pask)
  • Different forms of interactive installations
    • singular
      • one person is interacting with the installation and rest is watching (Anthony McCall)
    • collective
      • only as a group the interaction could start
    • performative
      • the audience is watching the performance (Children of the Light)
    • experience
      • everyone could experience the same feeling (space, tunnel installation - walking through) (James Turrell)
  • Post digital space

This term could be described as physical media spaces build by digital components such as custom made softwares, sensors, digital interactions, algorithms, where the digital merges with the physical, creating a hybrid environment.

  • Climax
    • The role of time
  • the role of the performer VJ (interviews)

Context (V) (Architecture)

  • Post ritual spaces – clubs
  • Heterotopic-liminoid
  • Differences between club and gallery space
    • The context of club as experimentation field
    • dark black space
    • club as a transcendental space for body and soul
    • Hybrid audience


    • short summary of the above
    • final statement

In our information age in which technology becomes more and more omnipresent of our daily there is a growing need for spiritual understanding. Therefor it is important to understand light as stimulus for human perceptions.