PHD TALKS – Media Art and Communication

The Techonological Image: Image Movement Perception Devices


While the making of images seems to be longer than recorded history, in the modern era (basically the nineteenth and twentieth century), new types of images have been created using apparatuses that fundamentally fuse human perception and technology. These virtual images do not use physical supports in the usual material way (wall, canvases, paper, etc.), but rather construct a viewing device that creates a virtual image with such effects as motion, three-dimensionality or illumination – or all three at once. I intend to investigate what a variety of such devices have in common, especially moving images, three-dimensional images and projected images. I will discuss their history and their phenomenology.

Apparatus Thinking and Experience Heritage


Following on from ‘intangible heritage’, is it possible to create an ‘experiential heritage’? Following on from ‘media archaeology’, is it possible to practice a ‘historical inoperability’? Is there an ‘apparatus thinking’ which can supplement conventional archival analysis? For several years a collaborative team of composers, musicians, artists, performers and historians has recreated the experience of magic lantern shows for contemporary audiences. As part of the practice led research Australian Research Council Discovery Project Heritage in the Limelight: The Magic Lantern in Australia and the World we have developed live multimedia performances physically combining new creative elements with actual historical magic lanterns and glass slides. In magic lantern shows audiences sat shoulder to shoulder in the dark and collectively experienced visual and aural effects as transforming images interacted with voice and music. This ubiquitous apparatus formed a media-archaeological substratum to the special effects of today’s media spaces. But for contemporary audiences inured to subsequently developed media thrills, the apparatus’s original experiential power can seem quaint and distant. Therefore, our intention has not been to ‘authentically’ reproduce an historical event, nor to simply add a ‘retro’ flavour to a contemporary multimedia performance, but to develop ways contemporary audiences can reconnect with the original ‘magic’ of the lantern. We have used various strategies to encourage our audiences to reflect on the historical reality of the magic lantern show as an ‘experiential object’. I will examine the new strategies historians and museums need to develop as heritage becomes less tangible and more experiential. When historians are seeking to understand the immersive media experiences of the past in their historical and material specificity, and museum visitors are seeking to engage with their heritage in a more directly experiential way, what can be learnt from our creative, site specific, performances of historical immersive technologies?

One Lens, Two Perspectives, Three Dimensios: Depth and Time


When Charles Wheatstone invented the stereoscope photography had not yet been revealed to the world. When it was, photographers used a camera with a single lens. A lot of them made the most of that unique lens to produce the two perspectives that were necessary to create the illusion of three dimensionality, even after binocular cameras were invented. Some never even had a binocular camera.

With a fast-growing community of modern stereo photographers taking 3-D images with their smartphone, this talk examines the history of sequential stereo photography from the origins of the medium to the present day and how it allowed the capture of depth … and time. In the words of Roland Barthes, cameras really were “clocks for seeing”.




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