an e-mail project by Karin Sander
About László Moholy-Nagy’s “Light-Space-Modulator”, as seen in his film “Ein Lichtspiel schwarz weiss grau”/ “A Lightplay black white grey” (1930)
Ingenious design, idiosyncratic jerky mechanical rotation, diagonal shifting of perspectives, gears interlocking, metal screws, discs, grids, grates, rods. Lines, squares, cubes, rectangles encased in circular forms. Kitchen aesthetic, reminiscent of cheese graters, corkscrews, aluminum gleaming, beaming industrial pride. Is it an appliance - a device designed for a specific function? The function might be, as the title suggests- a “Light-Space-Modulator”, a machine whose sole purpose is to modify the space in which it exists, a metaphor for the relationships between industry, design and the social environment in which they dwell.
About eight objects intertwined with each other, not autonomous, yet independent, nothing is repeated, all objects are different but share primary motives- the circle, the line. The black marble set into motion by the rotation appears unique, the sole absorbent surface amongst aluminum, glass and brass, but is akin to the shadows that the object casts.
The negative (space, shadow) is interchangeable and has equal importance to the positive (a protruding object, a reflected light). The impact of an object upon its surrounding space becomes the object of perception. An infinite rotation creates unending possibilities, combinations of materials casting shadows, reflecting light upon other materials and the space that surrounds it.
The film captures this motion with moving pictures, the medium in turn inverted into negative and positive projection, the light becomes the shadow, the shadow a reflection. The camera imitates a beam of light, traveling through holes and spaces of the object. The rhythm of the object, the tempo of the motor, the accents of the film silently stagger, swell, shake, shift, clash, repeat. Projections bleed into blend, a cut - blackness engulfs the screen. It’s all shadows and light.