Video artist Tony Oursler’s The Influence Machine at Stockholm University


Dr Tusch has something to say about affecting machines. Influence machine. – I’m in a park at the University of Stockholm. Getting ready to do about the Influence machine. It’s really cool! One thing I really love about this is that what you’re seeing at the moment may never be seen again in a really real way. There’s projections on smoke, the trees, the grass, buildings and so forth. The way these things combine. The way the wind moves the smoke and the smoke kind of stretches the images in different ways. There’s a kind of reading which heightens the sense of the moment. As people move through it they’re able to pick that up. When technologies first happens there’s a magic moment where they’re not fixed. I became kind of fascinated by that. I grew up in a multimedia mileue in a pop cultural setting which was saturated with technology. Radios, telephones, TV, cinemas. That’s what I gravitated to, but I was also very interested in painting and the history of painting. I wasn’t thinking that these other different technologies could be used to make art. At the Californian institute for the arts I picked up the video camera in 1976. It’s hard to imagine today, but that was the first time I every played with a video camera. I’d of course seen them, but they were impossible to get your hands on. Immediately it was breaking through this barrier that separate the subject from the object, the viewer from the medium, the apparatus from the public. It broke down in a wonderful way for me. At the same time I started looking at other artists like Baldessari, Wegman and people like that. So I saw that the video camera was a transitional space of what was around me and what I was making. As soon as it was drawn into the lens and on to the video tape I began to see that there was something that had happened. A transformation through that system when recording things that was quite interesting. When they come here, they’re looking ahead. It could be one of these pillars… – I’ve known Tony Oursler since the year 2000. We made an exhibition together called Station at Magasin 3 in 2002. Personally our relation goes back to those years, but in reality he’s been know to me during my whole- -grown life since he’s been an important person in the arts and moving pictures. He did his first works of art when I was a child, but in the 70’s when I was getting interested- -in arts his name and work appeared in museums all over the world. Because of this, when I got the chance to make my own exhibitions he was one of the persons I’d first like to work with. Stations that I did together with Tony was one of the first bigger works I did, in the vein of creating new art. – Or else it could go on one of these weird spirals of bricks. They’re ugly as hell, but we could make them beautiful. Where would we do it? – We had talked about restaging the Influence Machine in proximity to a new project that Richard Julin was having at the Accelerator. It’s quite intriguing, because this is where some of the primary research was done- -through the 60’s and 70’s with the accelerator and particle physics. As we know from the giant accelerators here in Europe, this was probably one of the most important once at some time. I’ve always been interested in the connection between scientific and cultural production. That’s a root to the theme of the Influence Machine. – This one is key… It’s going to pan all the way like this. It’s going to that distant one way above the cafeteria. Who wants to work the key one here? You? Okay! What’s your name again?
– Marika! – I think it’s nice that we can start with Tony’s the Influence Machine. Especially since it’s inspired by an old belgian physicist called Étienne-Gaspard Robert, who was also called Robertson. He was very famous in the end of the 18th century, not so much today. He was a physicist and also a magician. He travelled with something called the phantasmagoria. Which was smoke clouds on which they made projections of pictures. He was into physics and optics and invented many of these techniques. But he was also doing what we today would call fine arts. That’s the reason why I think work of art fits so well with the inauguration of Accelerator. – Influence machine. Machines hopeless. Complex constructions.
You can’t tell me, right? What you do to the machine, you do to me. Don’t remove the initials. Body collapses into two dimensions.
The patient disappears and claims to have never been there. The puppet, the ventriloquist puppet is jumping in joy. – I’m going to kill you. We want you to notice. – It’s dark inside. Come out in the darkness. You can see right through me.
I am not here. You’re not here. Bringer of light. – All of this stuff is cool. Coming out. – I just walk around smiling. I think it’s cheerful and fun. It’s also haunting… It’s a nice mix of things. – I think it’s interesting that it’s merging nature with speaking and a panoramic immersion of sensibility. – Good transmitter, transmitter, transmitter. I’ve got a vibration here man, and it wants to make contact. – I think The Influence Machine is a fantastic piece of work. It’s located in the intersection between science and art. He explores early scientists, that at the same time had interests in magic and at that times advanced exhibitional techniques like phantasmagoria. It is of great symbolic value that this can kick off Accelerator, our new specialized institution. And it’s also good that we don’t start off Accelerator as a physical place, but instead it’s a living work of art that is present. It has gathered thousands of visitors with information spread only throughout social media. It shows a great interest in this. Accelerator should exist like a living reality, rather than a locale you visit. – Whenever you pick up a camera and start to think about the right way to frame me for an interview. A close-up, medium shot, long shot. That sort of language was invented by somebody. And it could be broken by somebody. I use this talking to the dead as a metaphor for theSe moments where things are open for new ideas. Sometimes it closes back down, and it opens up again. The internet opens up at some point. And then Google locks it down. This happens time and time again with technology.

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