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ZALÁN SZAKÁCS

EIGENGRAU

ROTTERDAM 2019

EIGENGRAU Zalán Szakács

Performative installation presentation

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INTRODUCTION

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Zalán Szakács is an audiovisual artist and researcher who explores media theories through the use of light, space, and sound. He translates his conceptual approach into interactive and immersive environments, creating atmospheres that challenge human perception. Therefore he has experience in both abstract research and writing, as well as more hands-on installation production and project management. In each of his projects he explores a personal fascination into a historical subject, and deconstructs it through a cultural, political and social lens. In his research he analyses parallels between unknown and unconventional relationships between the past and our times.


Szakács performed as live audiovisual act at festivals and events such as Dekmantel in Amsterdam, Amsterdam Dance Event, sound:frame in Vienna, Atlas Electronic in Marrakesh, Ornament in Kunsthaus Graz, Klankvorm in V2 Rotterdam and collaborated with artists such as Children of the Light, Heleen Blanken, Stefan Fraunberger, Teresa Winter and Sébastien Robert. He has obtained a degree from Design Academy Eindhoven (BA, Man and Communication) in 2017 and from Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam (MA, Media Design: Experimental Publishing) in 2019.

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Since the beginning phantasmagorias were built on mythological stories, political, sociological and religious propaganda as reflections of the zeitgeist. Eigengrau is the phantasmagoria of the 21st century.

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ZALÁN SZAKÁCS

Eigengrau (derived from German origin, meaning ‘dark light’) counters the online individual information overload by creating an offline non-screen mediated collective experience. It proposes a temporary escape in a contemporary setting, where the audience is invited into a collective ritual, a feeling of togetherness. With only the means of stripped back elements of light, sound and haze, the installation creates an emotional illusion, a dialogue between darkness and light. The performative installation features a custom-made LED circle, that in the timespan of 12 minutes takes the audience through a non linear time of five mental states: Deep State, Anticipation State, Weird state, Higher State and Relaxation State. This narrative is made visible through the pre-programmed motion of blue light gradients, referring to the colour of screen light.

EIGENGRAU

ROTTERDAM 2019

Eigengrau frames the negative space, and therefore it generates an illusion of non-material space. The installation offers a suspension from the isolation and digital saturation of contemporary society.

MEDIUM RGBW LEDs, custom-made hardware, hazers, quadraphonic sound

Since the beginning phantasmagorias were built upon mythological stories, political, sociological and religious propaganda as reflections of the zeitgeist. Eigengrau is the phantasmagoria of the 21st century.

PROJECT TEAM Zalán Szakács (conception) Sébastien Robert (sound design) Anna Kacso (architecture) Koen Coppens (technical development) Pim van Baalen (photography) Luuk de Kok (cinematography) Holly Dicker (narrator) Marijn Bril (allround support) Teunis Verwijs (production) Paresh Binda (production)

DIMENSIONS ∅ 1,60 meters LED

A video about Eigengrau: https://vimeo.com/372630431

EIGENGRAU performative installation based on the research of the thesis: Phantasmagoria – Exploring the integration of new media and technologies in spiritual context 06

ZALÁN SZAKÁCS © 2019


↑ Phantasmagoria, 1789

↓ Dreamachine, 1960

↑ Phantasmagoria, 1759

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ZALÁN SZAKÁCS

Phantasmagoria were early multi-sensory phenomenons where several audiovisual performances were performed by magic lanterns. Since the beginning, they were built upon mythological stories, political, sociological and religious propaganda as reflections of the zeitgeist. Underlining the mediums collective powers of the religious gatherings during ancient Greek times; 18th-century necromancer ghost-raising séances of Johann Georg Schröpfer; the Enlightenment science inspired black magic shows of Philidor’s and Robertsons, withal the hallucination gatherings around the Dreamachine of the 1960s. The thesis examines and compares several directions from the technological and perceptual psychological aspects of these media design objects, whilst creating a bridge to our times. The question that the research aims to answer: How would phantasmagoria be interpreted in the contemporary zeitgeist?

ABSTRACT

PHANTASMAGORIA

This research is tracing the passage from the supernatural to the technological, and there-after the technological to the neurological: the phantoms move from outside to inside. Grau established a thoughtful relationship between Phantasmagoria and immersion: Phantasmagoria connects with death through immersion and spiritualism to overcome the separation from one’s ancestors through the medium. (Grau, 2010) Based on that we can conclude that Phantasmagorias are engineering heterotopic liminoid non-material spaces through the ritualistic beliefs of our subconscious. Reference: Grau, Oliver, “Media Art Histories”, The MIT Press, 2010

PHANTASMAGORIA Exploring the integration of new media and technologies in spiritual context

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ZALÁN SZAKÁCS © 2019


ZALÁN SZAKÁCS

RESEARCH ABOUT PHANTASMAGORIA

ROTTERDAM 2019

Historical order Stage magicians

Athanasius Kircher 1602–1680

Johann Georg Schröpfer 1738–1774

smoke flickering

Metaphysical symbolism the original light source symbolizes God (lux) if the lens and the slide symbolizes an angel and man respectively, the image projected on the screen is furthest away from God, and properly depicts and symbolizes Death, demons and Hell

Étienne-Gaspard Robert “Robertson” 1763–1837 rolling on wheels changing the zoom in and out smoke flickering semitransparent screen

Gothic novels contemporary politics ghosts demons witches supernatural exotic morbid association

sound of the thunderstorm

glas harmonica sound of the thunderstorm

2 days before the event the audience had to deliver a photograph of the person to be able to get in contact

Analysis

assistants dressed as ghosts Jesuit theater in Rome

coffeeshop Leipzig audience standing in a circle

Time

Why?

mobile back-projection rolling on wheels

The first appeared in a beautiful white habit, the other in beige, the third in very ugly brown, almost black....the voices in which they answered his questions rang hollow, as if they had no larynx, which he called Ghost Speech.

hollow voices spoken through concealed tubes, and thunder sound effects

Sound

Scenography Location

Paul Philidor 17??–1829 Argand lamp, which produced a much stronger light and thus enabled larger audiences to see the images

Media Object

Content

Esmé Gilles Guyot 1706–1786

each will show himself in a different manner; one arises as already noted out of the floor, the second appears suddenly and is entirely there, the third appears from a gray cloud and evolves slowly into a figure that can be recognized clearly from his countenance. abandoned Capuchin monastery little electronical shock effects in the chairs

1 h 30 min

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

the 18th century was superstitious

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During the Enlightenment, when the ties between the church and the state started to loosen, and science was flourishing, several magicians such as Schöpfer, Philidor and Robertson were claiming to be educative scientists. However their real goal was to frighten their audience and make a commercial profit through their séance performances. Their visitors had to go on a fast three days ahead before establishing the contact with their descended relatives, and were never made aware that in fact they had become victims of an optical illusion trickery. ↑ PHANTASMAGORIA Exploring the integration of new media and technologies in spritual context (excerpt from the thesis)

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The magician traces a circle in the sand around the table or altar. He begins his conjuration by reading from a book and making smoke from a resinous substance for good spirits, and from foul-smelling substances for bad ones. In a single instant, the lights are extinguished by themselves, with a sharp explosive noise. The magic circle keeps the devil inside and constructs a physical barrier between the inside and the outside.

↑ PHANTASMAGORIA Exploring the integration of new media and technologies in spritual context (excerpt from the thesis)

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In the 1960s Brion Gysin, William Burroughs and Ian Sommerville got inspired by cybernetics, hallucinations and alpha wave brain activities and they developed the stroboscopic apparatus called the Dreamachine. New neurological after effects were achieved by using the dual structure of the shifting after-image and flickering interruption to produce a virtually experienced moving image.

↑ PHANTASMAGORIA Exploring the integration of new media and technologies in spritual context (excerpt from the thesis)

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ZALÁN SZAKÁCS

Eigengrau is an audiovisual performance that requires two hosts, who will guide the audience through the journey of light. The project will be performed on specific times to create and maintane the perfect atmosphere through haze and darkness. The space is divided into three parts: closed space, podium and the magic circle. The experience starts with a narrators voice welcoming the spectators and continuing explaining the specific mental states and the storyline of Eigengrau. In the darkness the two hosts will guide the audience around the circular podium to make them aware through movements about the setup. After everyone took a place on the floor the performance starts to unfold (see the exact time schedule on page 19). At 06:30 minute the hosts will help three members of the audience to enter the podium and the magic circle. Here an interaction takes place between

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USER EXPERIENCE

ROTTERDAM 2019

the spectator and the light. The viewer experiences an immersive feeling by being surrounded with the circular light and standing in the negative space. This moment challenges the spatial understanding and asks the spectator to get in touch with their senses. The light creates an illusion of circular space and by stepping through its borders it creates an interesting sensation. It enforces as well the collective feeling of togetherness. At 09:20 minute both hosts are helping the audience to leave the podium and the magic circle. The light beam becomes thinner and thinner. Visitors are getting into a relaxation mood through the calming soundscapes. At the end of the experience the audience enriched a different level of consciousness.

ZALÁN SZAKÁCS © 2019


ZALÁN SZAKÁCS

USER EXPERIENCE

ROTTERDAM 2019

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(00:00–03:00 min) The 1st host welcomes the audience to the dark room filled with haze. (03:00–05:00 min) The 2nd host guides the audience to take a place around the circular podium. (06:30–08:10 min) Both hosts begin to help the audience for entering the podium and the magic circle. (09:20–10:50 min) Both hosts are helping the audience to leave the podium.

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ZALÁN SZAKÁCS

USER EXPERIENCE

ROTTERDAM 2019

01 (00:00–03:00 min) Introduction The 1st host welcomes the audience to the dark room filled with haze.

02 (03:00–05:00 min) Introduction The 2nd host guides the audience to take a place around the circular podium.

03 (05:00 min) Deep State The peformance begins. A narrator explains the audience the storyline.

04 (05:30 min) Deep State First light beams are becoming visible.

05 (05:30–06:30 min) Deep State The light beam becomes stronger and stronger and start to turn.

06 (06:30–08:10 min) Anticipation State Both hosts begin to help the audience for entering the magic circle.

07 (06:30–08:10 min) Anticipation State More and more people will enter the podium and the magic circle.

08 (08:10–09:20 min) Weird State The light beam opens up and the spatial characteristics became visible.

09 (09:20–10:50 min) Higher State Both hosts are helping the audience to leave the podium. The light beam becomes thinner and thinner.

10 (10:50–12:00 min) Relaxation State The soundtrack becomes calmer and only a thin light beam is visible.

11 (10:50–12:00 min) Relaxation State The light beam disappeared and the artist is thanking for the visitors.

12 (12:00–15:30 min) End Room light brightness fades up and the audience is leaving the room.

ZALÁN SZAKÁCS © 2019

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Eigengrau frames the negative space, and therefore it generates an illusion of non-material  space. The installation offers a  suspension from the isolation and digital saturation of contemporary society.

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ZALÁN SZAKÁCS

EIGENGRAU

Thank you!

Contact Phone +31 626 924 454 zalan@zalansworld.com www.instagram.com/zalansworld zalansworld.com 22

ROTTERDAM 2019

Profile for Zalán Szakács

Eigengrau  

Eigengrau frames the negative space, and therefore it generates an illusion of non-material space. The installation offers a suspension from...

Eigengrau  

Eigengrau frames the negative space, and therefore it generates an illusion of non-material space. The installation offers a suspension from...

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