Ars Electronica 1992
Festival-Program 1992
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Festival 1979-2007


The Magical Eye

'Peter Weibel Peter Weibel

Peter Weibel in THE MAGICAL EYE, an expanded movie by Valie Export and Peter Weibel.

Normally sound is produced in the projector with the optical sound method developed by Vogt, Engel and Masolle in the 1920s. The frequency of sound is converted into light fluctuations which influence the light-sensitive film strip moving by at a constant speed. When the film is shown, the light of the projection lamp is modulated by the fluctuations in brightness recorded on the edge of the film strip and translated into sound through a photo cell. In the MAGICAL EYE the sound is produced on a screen equipped with photo cells and relays. The light produces sound which is greatly amplified. The film projected onto this screen consists of abstract patterns: dark patterns result in low sounds and bright patterns result in high sounds. The light valence is not measured as the sum of the whole surface since the individual pulses of diverse cells are added depending on how the light falls on them. The powerful sound collage that results is produced through the interaction of the light from the film, the light of the surrounding space and the action of the audience.