The Invisible Shape of Things Past

After reading chapter two of Manovich’s Software Takes Command, the difference between multimedia and hybrid media revealed various facets within themselves that I never even knew existed. It struck interest in many ways, but one most of all which was the further study into Joachim Sauter’s Invisible Shape of Things Past. Honestly, at first it is difficult to see what Sauter is really going for initially, but definitely after watching a few of his pieces you can see how he uses various forms of media to represent movement and the representation of multiple perspectives of a singular object. They are 1 “parametric translations of movies into space. Single frames from a film sequence are lined up in space, according to the camera movement with which they were shot. Through this translation of single frames consisting of single pixels (picture elements) into space, objects of voxels (volume elements) are generated.” What was most striking about the project is the fact that the artist doesn’t want the viewer to see these images as they are meant to be seen. The artist wishes to produce abstraction and also to represent how the area and space has changed over a certain period of time.

Manovich expands on and defines multimedia and the umbrella of media it emcompasses. It was amazing to see how many aspects of media go into things people use everyday and are probably using as they read this. There are so many factors that go into making medias we use daily, such as websites, GPS, and our phones. How this relates to Sauter’s piece is the media that he is using to create this virtual world for his viewers. He is representing space and time through video and photography.

Some fascinating aspects of some of the works were that you were able to admire the artistic elements of the piece as far as the sculptural qualities and the shapes that were produced through that. Also, the fact that you were being taken through various spaces while navigating through the shape that I guess the artist made while shooting the video. It kinda felt like the shape mirrored the space in the images being shown. The experience provided is unique and captivating.

As Manovich states, “multimedia does not threaten the autonomy of different media. They retain their own languages, i.e. ways of organizing media data and accessing this data” [2] (p 58).


[1] October 8, 2012. 1995-2007

[2] Manovich, Lev “Understanding Metamedia”. Software Takes Command. 2008. 56-71.