Michael Schmid / Jörn Müller-Quade / Thomas Beth ::
Laserfilm, 2000

interactive sculpture
laser, glass, steel, wood
ZKM | Media Museum

Design: g:k, graf & kölmel
The installation was realized with the support of the artist Janka Reh, the technological support of IAP Jena, and with the finacial support of the Institute for Algorithms and Cognitive Systems at Karlsruhe University.

As a prototype of pioneering image technology, Laserfilm extends the possibilities of conventional film not only in terms of technology but also subject matter. The installation is based on the idea of applying a new technological advance from the field of optics [diffractive elements] to film as a medium.
In order to produce moving images, the conventional reproductive method using celluloid film involves running a long sequence of individual images past a light source. Without recourse to further technical devices, such as a shutter in combination with a so-called Maltese cross, the projected image will simply remain diffuse, blurred or unfocused.
The simple optical construction of Laserfilm, on the other hand, involving nothing more than a data carrier and a laser as its light source, makes it possible to directly project a film without needing to resort to further technical. The film is mounted on a glass disc held in the centre of a freely swinging pendulum suspended from the ceiling. It consists of a so-called diffractive element, minuscule squares each just one thousandth millimetre across that have been etched into the glass disc by means of the most up-to-date industrial production technology from Jena. Whether the viewer 'plays' the film in fast or slow motion ‚ depending on the speed in which he moves the pendulum to and fro ‚ the succession of frames in the film flows seamlessly [or shutterlessly] on, since the image projected by diffracted light does not slip even if the image carrier is moved.