Description of the installation
As the laser light installation "Jenaer Rauschen" is an interference phenomenon that arises inside the lens of the individual's eye, it constitutes a work of art that cannot be shown as such. Until it is looked at it does not exist at all. The photograph shown here simply serves to illustrate the spatial situation and proportions. The noise effect is not reproducible. In the laser light installation "Jenaer Rauschen", the pure effect of laser light plunging the entire room into a grainy, homogeneous light is revealed. The work of art exists neither on the wall nor in space but solely in the eye of the spectator: the laser light triggers a noise effect in the eye which is individually perceived.
Perception of the installation depends on the composition and imaging defects of the lens of the eye. Long-sighted people will perceive the vibrating speckles of light differently than the short-sighted, just as those who wear glasses will see something different from those who do not. The visual noise is a direct, individual perception which is not interpreted by the brain. What arises is a solipsistic perception situation in which the difference between subject and object is abolished for the simple reason that neither a picture nor an object exist.
Technical details of the installation: Darkened room for spectators, Neodym YAG laser, Optical system, Plexiglas screen 175 x 175 cm
First installed at Jena City Museum on the occasion of the Botho Graef Kunstpreis of the City of Jena, 1998.
From Multiple Choice to Non-Image
The Radical Subjectivity of Contemporary Art
Technical media and, in particular, media art are able to penetrate the human sensorium with ever increasing directness. They are capable of leaving impressions without that which is perceived being consciously received. More and more often they evoke moods or direct perceptions rather than transmitting messages in the sense of communication and semiotic theory. What used to be the special preserve of music is nowadays increasingly being encroached upon by visual art.
The media art of the 1970s to 1990s – for example, holography, light and interactive art offers onlookers a range of possibilities with regard to participating individually in their own visual constructs, taking an active part in the works or organising them differently. Spectators become actors. A situation arises where the receivers themselves must make decisions or select from a complex of aesthetic experience. The way in which they make their selection determines the work of art.
The next stage of development replaces this multiple choice situation with a more subtle or more brutal mode of perception. The directness of the media combines itself with the directness of the process of perception. The work of art creates itself through the collision of a visual stimulus with the organ of perception without reception being controlled by awareness. The work of art is not produced until reception takes place. Production and reception become one.
Works of art leave impressions on the onlooker through their massive presence. These impressions are emotional, aesthetic, visual (and acoustic) but do not compose a picture and carry no message. They penetrate our consciousness by means of video screens, data visors, CAVEs or projection screens but only as sources of something which is not itself an image even though it can be experienced and felt. Because this is directly subjective it cannot be expressed in the semantic system of language and can perhaps best be referred to using a liminal linguistic element such as exclamation or onomatopoeia. The artistic experience is a subscoptic interaction.