Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana
in collaboration with Drugo More and the Kapelica gallery

Julius von Bismarck

#1 - June 1, 2009, Governor's Palace, Rijeka
#2 - June 2, 2009, Tito's Square, Velenije
#3 - June 3, 2009, Franciscan church of the Annunciation, Ljubljana
#4 - June 4, 2009, the Mayor of Ljubljana Mr. Zoran Janković at Žale Cemetery, Ljubljana

June 4, 2009 at 8 pm
Kapelica gallery, Kersnikova 4, Ljubljana

June 4-12, 2009
Kapelica gallery

About the project:
According to Merriam Webster, fulguration means "the act or process of flashing like lightning" and that's kind of the principle behind artist Julius von Bismarck's device.

Image Fulgurator is a real-world hack of other people's photos.

The device operates via a kind of reactive flash projection that enables an image to be projected on an object exactly at the moment when someone else is photographing it. The intervention is unobtrusive because it takes only a few milliseconds. Every photo another photographer takes of an object at which the Fulgurator is also aimed is affected by the manipulation. Hence visual information can be smuggled unnoticed into the images of others and the intervention is only visible on the photo afterwards (ones it has been displayed or developed).

Technically, the Image Fulgurator works like a classical camera, though in reverse. In a normal camera, the light reflected from an object is projected via the lens onto the film. In the Image Fulgurator, this process is exactly the opposite: instead of an unexposed film, an exposed and developed roll of slide film is loaded into the camera and behind it, a flash. When the flash goes off, the image is projected from the film via the lens onto the object.

Due to the similarity of the two processes, the Fulgurator looks like a conventional reflex camera. As soon as the built-in sensor registers a flash somewhere nearby, the flash projection is triggered. Hence the projection can be synchronized to the exact moment of exposure of all other cameras in its immediate vicinity. Via a screen it is possible to focus the projection and to position it on the targeted object.

People’s great trust in their photographic reproductions of reality was what motivated the artist to develop the Image Fulgurator. A camera can be used as a personal memory tool, since people do not doubt the veracity of their own photographs. Hence, photos can reproduce the reality of an individual environment or public space. At sacred or popular locations, or those having a political connotation, an intervention with the Fulgurator can be particularly effective. Especially objects with a special aura or great symbolic power are good targets for this kind of manipulation. In other words, with the Fulgurator it is possible to have a lasting effect on those kinds of individual moments and events that become accessible to the masses only because they are preserved photographically. In this context the Fulgurator represents a manipulation of visual reality and so targets the very fabric of media memory.

The Image Fulgurator received the 2008 Golden Nica in the Interactive Art category at the Ars Electronica festival in Linz.

About the author:
Julius von Bismarck (DE), born in 1983. After growing up in Saudi-Arabia and Germany, he studied and worked in Berlin and New York. Since 2005, he has been a student of Experimental Media Design at the Berlin University of the Arts. His works operate between the fields of art, science and technology, whereby his thematic priorities are perception, documentation and the manipulation of urban space. Apart from developing and designing interactive objects and processes, he works as a cameraman.

Production and organization in Slovenia and Croatia:
Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

Coproduction in Slovenia: Zavod K6/4 – Galerija Kapelica
Coproduction in Croatia: Drugo More
Project supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the City of Ljubljana.

Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana