Tamás Waliczky’s Imaginary Cameras [EN]

Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszak


In 2016, new media artist Tamás Waliczky began working on a series entitled Imaginary Cameras. With this series, Waliczky was selected to represent Hungary at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The computer graphics, which depict 24 precisely constructed fantasy machines (cameras, projectors, viewers), reverse the widely held trope that newly invented devices change our ways of seeing. Instead, Waliczky argues, an inventor’s vision and worldview often predetermine the mechanisms of the apparatus and the character of the images the device can create. Among the 24 devices envisioned with these images, there are several with mechanisms that refer to 19th-century and 20th-century cameras which strove to expand the limits of photography’s two dimensionality by creating stereoscopic and immersive images, but Waliczky’s versions often add other dimensions to the equation, such as time. The Stereo Flipbook Viewer allows the viewer to see an analogue animation in stereo, while the Orthographic Camera, which has a multitude of tiny lenses in columns and rows, gives the photographer a chance to record a scene in a way that will show the image without any distortions from an axonometric perspective, in other words, in a manner we are familiar with from digital 3D design software. The Panorama Camera records a 360-degree view, not by merging views taken sequentially, but rather through a special mechanism which records the immersive image in one instant, without any time passing. Thus, Tamás Waliczky’s analogue machines reflect the inventor’s way of seeing, since the decades- old new media art practice of creating virtual and augmented reality has influenced the kinds of images his devices are capable of creating.


Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák is currently the Head of the Budapest Gallery, Budapest History Museum. In 2019, she was the curator of the Hungarian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. Her areas of interest range from mid-19th-century photography to contemporary art.


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