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László Moholy-Nagy «Light-Space-Modulator» | Licht-Raum-Modulator
László Moholy-Nagy, «Light-Space-Modulator», 1930
Licht-Raum-Modulator | Photography | ©

Berlin | Germany | Licht-Raum Modulator (1922-1930), Plastik bestehend aus: Stahl verchromt, Aluminium, Glas, Plexiglas, Holz filmisch dargestellt in "Lichtspiel Schwarz-Weiß-Grau" (1930) | Archive / Collection: Busch-Reisinger-Museum, Cambridge

 László Moholy-Nagy

This piece of lighting equipment is a device used for demonstrating both plays of light and manifestations of movement. The model consists of a cube-like body or box, 120 x 120 cm in size, with a circular opening (stage opening) at its front side. On the back of the panel, mounted around the opening are a number of yellow, green, blue, rot, and white-toned electric bulbs (approximately 70 illuminating bulbs of 15 watts each, and 5 headlamps of 100 watts). Located inside the body, parallel to its front side, is a second panel; this panel too, bears a circular opening about which are mounted electric lightbulbs of different colors. In accordance with a predetermined plan, individual bulbs glow at different points. They illuminate a continually moving mechanism built of partly translucent, partly transparent, and partly fretted materials, in order to cause the best possible play of shadow formations on the back wall of the closed box. (When the demonstration occurs in a darkened space, the back wall of the box can be removed and the color and shadow projection shown on a screen of any chosen size behind the box.) The mechanism is supported by a circular platform on which a three-part mechanism is built. The dividing walls are made of transparent cellophane, and a metal wall made of vertical rods. Each of the three sectors of the framework accommodate a different, playful movement study, which individually goes into effect when it appears on the main disc revolving before the stage opening. The first sector’s playful movement study: three rods move jerkily (since the plan of the edges and base are somewhat different) on an unbroken path. Different materials, translucent screening, parallel horizontal rods, and wire netting are mounted to the three rods. The second sector’s playful movement study: found within three levels arranged one behind the other is a large immobile aluminum disc; moving up and down in front of this is a small, bent and highly-polished perforated brass disc; at the same time—between the two—a small ball is set in motion as if on a roller coaster. The third sector’s playful movement: a glass rod topped by a spiral of glass. This describes, in the reverse, the movement of the pin of the large disc, whose tip touches the base made of a diagonally-arranged and sector-shaped glass disc, levitating over a reflecting circular platform. This piece of lighting equipment can be used to arrive at countless optical conclusions, and it seems correct to me that the development of these attempts be continued as planned, as a way to approach the designing of light and movement.
L. Moholy-Nagy


László Moholy-Nagy