Heinrich Heidersberger

Experimentalists such as György Kepes, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Hans Richter proposed kinetic forms as the elements of a new type of art suitable for the modern age. They engaged media and machine technique to expand human perception. Heinrich Heidersberger was one of the most provocative heirs to this project at the intersection of perception, geometry and technology in the 1960s. Building on the initial investigations of his predecessors, after World War II Heidersberger set out to capture the elusive qualities of synesthesia, spatial rhythm and mathematical motion in his striking series of photographs called rhythmograms. An architectural photographer by profession, Heidersberger was also a keen mechanical and visual experimentalist. His rhythmograms trace the oscillating movements of light beams across surfaces as they suggest contours of implied volumes. Produced with the aid of a sophisticated machine that Heidersberger designed and constructed himself, the rhythmograms describe spaces freed from the heavy weight of material, dancing in a realm of pure form. In the rhythmograms, the viewer experiences a syncopated persistence of vision, a sensation that is not only visual but aural as well. The figures act as ghosts and residues of an externalized retinal latency, scintillating traces of shimmering vibration.