[ISEA2016] Artist Statement: Ruth Schnell — MotU #4–#6

Artist Statement 

Light objects, 28 x 11 x 8cm, Three painted steel casings, three LED-light sticks, each equipped with 128 elliptic LEDs, three circuit boards with microprocessor, flash memory, two light sensors, power supply

The term to see” is often used in common speech synonymously with to understand” or to grasp”. The phrase “If I am seeing this correctly” is used to signify understanding in consensus with others, while those who “don’t believe their eyes” experience something unexpected and untoward. But in general we do believe our eyes; so much so that we consider the information our visual senses present us with to be an accurate image of the present moment, to be reality. The work MotU #4 — #6 from the series Mirrors of the Unseen challenges this supposed credibility of the visible. The habitual process of seeing is infiltrated by words and icons made of light; they seem to emerge from three flickering LED beams and float hologram-like in front of the surrounding architecture. Nothing can get in the way of these translucent (written) images. They are present, and yet at the same time do not exist: only individual perception makes them accessible to the viewer. Ruth Schnell started developing so-called “light sticks” at the begin-ning of the 1990s. Since then, the works created using these media have been technically advanced; they befuddle our idea of perception.

Assistence media content: Patricia Köstring, Lea Schnell
Programming: Alexander Pausch


  • Ruth Schnell, born 1956 in Feldkirch (A). Media artist, curator, professor for media arts, Head of the Department of Digital Arts at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. ruthschnell.org/en