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Lichtspiel Experiment Nr. 2 – Underworld at Dutch Design Week 2023

Zalán Szakács invited the audience to descend into the basement of Koelhuis Eindhoven for an embodied experience that sits between mysticism and technology. 

Zalán Szakács is an artist who brings together immersive art, scenography, and research into historical media. For his project Lichtspiel he conducted a media archaeological investigation into the perceptual qualities of projection techniques from the 17th century. During this shifting period between the mystical time of alchemy and the scientific inventions of the Enlightenment, machines and instruments were not only seen as functional and technical objects but also carried metaphorical narratives.

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Szakács’ site-specific version of Lichtspiel engages with the water-flooded basement of Koelhuis Eindhoven through light, haze, and sound. Lichtspiel interprets unrealised machine drawings from four centuries ago through contemporary technologies. Inspired by the writings of the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher, Szakács guides the public through the shifting environment of the underworld. They become part of the work as their shadows form on the walls while they move through the space. By combining various kaleidoscopic lenses with a kinetic motor, the spectators find themselves in a configuration of mysticism and technology.

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Photo credits: Anna Odulinska,, Riccardo de Vecchio


Zalán Szakács

Zalán Szakács is an artist who brings together immersive art, scenography and media theory research. 


Through his work, Szakács explores the relationship between space, body and technology, resulting in multi-sensory experiences that include elements such as light, sound, smell, time, tactility and movement.


Based on the research of media theory and media archaeology, his artistic work brings forgotten analogue technologies – such as 17th century optical experiments and 18th century phantasmagoria – to the contemporary context, unfolding as experiential art installations. For each project, Szakács closely collaborates with scientists and researchers as well as filmmakers, artists, and sound designers.



Zalán Szakács - Research/concept/artistic development
Dr. Prof. Frank Kessler (film scholar at Utrecht University) - Mentor

Nick Mansveld - Technical production & design
Teresa Winter - Sound design
Thim Zuidwijk (engineer at TU Delft) - Advisor on optics
Tiemen Cocquyt (conservator at Rijksmuseum Boerhaave) - Advisor on 17th century scientific instruments

Photo credit: Riccardo de Vecchio

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