Futurities from an Imaginary Past

Since ancient times artists have longed to create with moving lights, a music for the eye comparable to the effects of sound for the ear.

Dr. William Moritz [1]


The exhibition presents the latest, unreleased creations by Nourathar, a combination of augmented reality, interaction and optical illusionism. Oniritronix illustrates a new stage in the duo’s exploration into the ability of light to expand beyond the limitations of screens and flat surfaces. The multimedia devices on view incorporate a variety of technological tricks and combine proto-cinematic techniques with digital tools, to draw audiences into a dreamscape inhabited by futurities from an imaginary past

With this new series of work the Ibiza-based, art & technology studio conveys the potential of light to cross and unify multiple dimensions. Their aim is to capture and materialize light as it collides with different realities: from the virtual to the physical, across time and space, highlighting the liminal space-in-between.

Nourathar’s previous Light Sculptures were a direct, contemporary interpretation of the 19th century Pepper’s Ghost, a magic trick used to create the illusion of spectres appearing on stage. The new series illustrates a step further in the creative use of the electromagnetic principles which determine the behaviour of light and are at the root of the subjective nature of vision.

The impact of technology on how we perceive and relate to the world, is a recurring theme in the work of Nourathar’s members. Their aim is to recover the fascination felt for the magic of technology around the turn of the 20th Century. Illusionists such as Jean Eugène Robert–Houdin, Georges Méliès or Segundo de Chomón represent this fascination. These sorcerers would incorporate science and technology to their shows and develop tricks based on the latest advances in electricity, optics or mechanics, to invoke wonder in the spectator.

Another reference in Nourathar’s work, is that of Visual Music as expressed in abstract films by Oskar Fischinger, Viking Eggeling, Hans Richter or Walter Ruttman in the 1920’s (also known as Absolute Film). Oniritronix exemplifies a similar exploration into the relation between colour, light and sound, even in the works which are silent: akin to sound composition, the visual structures develop over time. Walter Ruttman referred to this as Painting with time [2].

March - May, 2017, Ventana Contemporary


[1] William Moritz: “Towards an Aesthetics of Visual Music”; originally published in Asifa Canada, Vol. 14:3. December 1986. http://www.centerforvisualmusic.org/TAVM.htm

[2] Manifesto: Malerei mit Zeit, 1919. http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/source-text/19/