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(Archive) Lichtspiel

Experiment Nr. 2 – Underworld

This project was part of DDW 2023
Lichtspiel exhibited in TENT Rotterdam, 2023 — © Riccardo de Vecchi, 2023

Zalán Szakács invites the audience to descend into the basement of Koelhuis Eindhoven for an embodied experience that sits between mysticism and technology. Lichtspiel interweaves narratives of the past and the present through an interplay between light, haze, and sound.

History of light

Zalán Szakács is an artist who brings together immersive art, scenography, and research into historical media. For his project Lichtspiel he conducted a media archaeological investigation into the perceptual qualities of projection techniques from the 17th century. During this shifting period between the mystical time of alchemy and the scientific inventions of the Enlightenment, machines and instruments were not only seen as functional and technical objects but also carried metaphorical narratives.

Lichtspiel at Koelhuis Eindhoven

Szakács’ site-specific version of Lichtspiel engages with the water-flooded basement of Koelhuis Eindhoven through light, haze, and sound. Lichtspiel interprets unrealised machine drawings from four centuries ago through contemporary technologies. Inspired by the writings of the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher, Szakács guides the public through the shifting environment of the underworld. They become part of the work as their shadows form on the walls while they move through the space. By combining various kaleidoscopic lenses with a kinetic motor, the spectators find themselves in a configuration of mysticism and technology.

The basement of Koelhuis Eindhoven — © Nick Bookelaar