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The work MotU #9 from the series Mirrors of the Unseen (MotU) challenges the supposed credibility of the visible. The habitual process of seeing is infiltrated by words and icons made of light; they seem to emerge from a flickering LED stick and float, hologram-like, in front of the surrounding architecture. Nothing can get in the way of these translucent images. They are present, and yet at the same time do not exist; only individual perception makes them accessible to the viewer. 

Ruth Schnell´s works generated with so called light sticks interfere with our conventional ideas about seeing. The artist exploits the persistence of human vision: The photoreceptors in the retina cannot separately resolve individual images that appear in a frame rate higher than 20 images per second. For the presentation on the light stick, words, icons, but also photographs abstracted down to a silhouette are divided into points which are displayed sequentially along the vertical rows. Gazing directly at the object the spectator sees a throbbing flicker emitted by the vertically arranged LEDs. Observers in motion perceive the afterimages, thus several, already past situations, as a single present. Only the performative act of moving actuates this “present” and therewith the work as a collaborative process. The content addresses the fields of social movements, surveillance, algorithms, and implications of perceivability. For optimal viewing: We recommend watching from a distance while moving your head from left to right.

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