Light Harmonies

In 1955, on the cusp of the birth of computer animation and cinematic special effects, the German architectural photographer Heinrich Heidersberger built a series of room-sized kinetic machines to trace complex spaces, surfaces, and patterns onto photographic plates with a single concentrated ray of light.

Virtually unknown outside of Germany, his work comprises a key visual link between cinema, drawing, architecture, and the perceptual ambiguities of complex geometry. Speaking to themes of subtly asymmetric order, virtual and ephemeral shape, and a lyrical sensuality, his images evoke a pre-digital virtual space.

His creation and novel adaptation of machines in the activity of making even presages our contemporary use of computer-controlled machinery to create new universes of images and forms.Heidersberger called his striking formal inventions Rhythmogramms. This book presents the most comprehensive view of the Rhythmogramms’ smooth harmonic forms, delineated through the movements of a single delicate ray of light.

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