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Image Fulgurator

Image Fulgurator

The Image Fulgurator is a device for physically manipulating photographs. It intervenes when a photo is being taken, without the photographer being able to detect anything. The manipulation is only visible on the photo afterwards.

In principle, the Fulgurator can be used anywhere where there is another camera nearby that is being used with a flash. It operates via a kind of reactive flash projection that enables an image to be projected on an object exactly at the moment when someone else is photographing it. The intervention is unobtrusive because it takes only a few milliseconds. Every photo another photographer takes of an object at which the Fulgurator is also aimed is affected by the manipulation. Hence visual information can be smuggled unnoticed into the images of others. (taken from [1]).

This video shows an Intervention at the Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. (former border of east and west Germany) The target of the manipulation was the famous “YOU ARE ENTERING THE AMERICAN SECTOR” – sign.

The manipulation created a link from the former East / West border to the US / Mexican border in order to reimagine the dramatic situation at worldwide borders today. The message was addressed to the tourists on location, that can travel easily over every border without risking their life.

People’s great trust in their photographic reproductions of reality was what motivated me to develop the *Image Fulgurator*. A camera can be used as a personal memory tool, since people do not doubt the veracity of their own photographs. Hence, photos can reproduce the reality of an individual environment or public space. At sacred or popular locations, or those having a political connotation, an intervention with the Fulgurator can be particularly effective. Especially objects with a special aura or great symbolic power are good targets for this kind of manipulation. In other words, with the Fulgurator it is possible to have a lasting effect on those kinds of individual moments and events that become accessible to the masses only because they are preserved photographically.

[1] http://www.juliusvonbismarck.com/fulgurator/

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