Transmission in Motion


16 December 2021
15:00 - 17:00
Microsoft Teams

“Translations: Media Archaeology and Artistic Practice” – Frank Kessler (UU) en Zalán Szakács (media artist)

In this session, Frank Kessler and Zalán Szakács will discuss how media archaeological research and knowledge can be translated into artistic practice. Over the past decades, media artists have explored historical media dispositifs such as the magic lantern and the phantasmagoria, but also the projection microscope or optical principles such as anamorphosis for their own works. In a conversation with Frank Kessler, media artist Zalán Szakács will present two of his artistic projects and explain how the translation of media archaeological research informs his creative practice.

In his practice, Zalán Szakács explores links between historic and contemporary media phenomena, with a focus on media archaeological research translated into the medium of light and atmospheres. He sees his role as a mediator between technology and society, creating perceptual experiences that offer alternative technological narratives. Szakács exhibited at Ars Electronica festival, Het Nieuwe Instituut, V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media, Kunsthaus Graz, MEET Digital Culture Center, Klankvorm, Espronceda, Horst Arts & Music Festival, and CIVA festival. In 2021 he received the Talent Development grant from Creative Industries Fund NL.

Frank Kessler is a professor of Media History at Utrecht University and currently the Director of Utrecht University’s Research Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON). He is a co-founder and co-editor of KINtop. Jahrbuch zur Erforschung des frühen Films and the KINtop Studies in Early Cinema series. From 2003 to 2007 he was the president of DOMITOR, an international association for research on early cinema. He has published numerous articles on film history and particularly early cinema.

Suggested reading

  • Vermeir, Koen. 2005. “The Magic of the Magic Lantern (1660–1700): On Analogical Demonstration and the Visualization of the Invisible.” The British Journal for the History of Science 38 (2): 127–59.
  • Vermeir, Koen. 2007. “Athanasius Kircher’s Magical Instruments: An Essay on ‘Science’, ‘Religion’ and Applied Metaphysics.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 38 (2): 363–400.

How to join the meeting

  • If you are a student or employee at Utrecht University, you can join this meeting by becoming a member of the Transmission in Motion Seminar Team via this linkor by using the following code: sp1rybs
    The meeting is scheduled in the general channel.
    You can also join this meeting directly: Click here to join the meeting
  • If you are outside of Utrecht University, please send an email to and you will receive an invitation to join the Team!

This seminar is part of the Transmission in Motion seminar (2021-2022): “Practices of Translation”