Exhibition view "Resonances"
The Electromagnetic Bodies Project
Thu, July 28, 2005 – Sun, October 09, 2005

The exhibition »Resonances« features a selection of works by artists who have immersed themselves in the phenomenon of electromagnetism. Like other living organisms, the human body functions as a source, echo, transmitter and resistance to electromagnetic waves. The exhibition examines the differences and similarities between »organic« sensors and man-made anorganic artifacts as well as the impact of the invisible yet measurable forces on our sensory perception.

Many of the artworks in the exhibition relate to the work of the physicist and inventor, Nikola Tesla (1856-1943). Tesla’s scientific research, together with his visionary concepts for wireless communication and robots and his anticipation of a telepresence, provide the starting point for the artists’ response to the effects of electromagnetism. Tesla also spent many years examining the involvement of the observer in the construction of reality (thus anticipating virtual reality) as well as the magnetism of bodies.

In analogy to Tesla’s work, the artists represented in the exhibition deal primarily with electromagnetic phenomena and their impact on organic bodies. The artworks on display reflect every aspect of electromagnetism from visualisations and sonifications of the electromagnetic field that surrounds us to physical examinations of its influences and possible effects.

The exhibition was previously on show in Montréal at the institutions Oboro and Occurrence earlier this year. It presented eight Canadian artists, who in some parts had produced new works especially for the exhibition. This original concept has been broadened in Karlsruhe to include works by international artists from the ZKM Collection. In view of the prominent position Karlsruhe occupies in the discovery of electromagnetic phenomena, the exhibition also examines the historical scientific background to electromagnetism. The physicist, Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894), provided evidence for the existence of electromagnetic waves and was the first to transfer them from a transmitter to a receiver in Karlsruhe in 1886. Hertz performed the bulk of his creative work and research between 1885 and 1889 when he was a lecturer at the Karlsruhe Technical University. The exhibition uses documents and experimental setups to illustrate his work, propositions and studies, thus providing a graphic explanation of the phenomenon of electromagnetism. The University of Karlsruhe and the Heinrich Hertz Society were involved in the selection and presentation of Hertz’ research work.

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie