Building New Perceptions of Duration through László Moholy-Nagy’s “Light Space Modulator”

By Christina Chau.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper focuses on Henri Bergson’s approach to Western modes of representing movement in relation to his concept of duration (la dueé). Bergson argued that mechanised representations of movement distort and simplify the integrity of how subjective time is experienced as a continuous duration. By contrast, film photography and painting predominantly isolate instances of time, provide a snapshot of movement and create discontinuous representations of an inherently continuous process. Through Bergson’s perspective of duration, my paper draws from László Moholy-Nagy’s kinetic artwork, the “Light Space Modulator” (1922–1930) to demonstrate that mechanical presentation and representation of movement complicates Bergson’s three theses of movement. I argue that Moholy-Nagy explores mediated motion to create new rhythms of duration and perceptions of the relationship between time and space.

Keywords: Kinetic Art, Henri Bergson, László Moholy-Nagy, Sculpture, Movement, Motion, “Light Space Modulator,” Kineticism, Duration, Mediation, Installation

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.19-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 238.218KB).

Christina Chau

PhD Candidate, School of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Christina is currently Assistant Professor at the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia and submitted her PhD in early 2013. Her current research interests include kinetic art, installation, digital art, Henri Bergson, and Gilles Deleuze.