Image Fulgurator

Julius von Bismarck

Julius von Bismarck, Image Fulgurator

Modified analog camera

Germany 2007–2011


Rejecting technological conventions and limitations, von Bismarck developed a machine for projecting images onto a person or object that would be triggered by the flash of a nearby camera. The Image Fulgurator is a modified analog camera that reverses its normal function of capturing images by inserting a laser-drilled metallic plate in the place of the film, thus turning it into a kind of slide projector that uses a flashlight rather than a continuous light. Since the intervention happens only at the moment an adjacent camera is operated, the manipulation is only visible on the final image. This allowed Bismarck to create important political interventions, such as projecting a cross on the speaker pulpit during Barack Obama’s public address in Berlin in 2008.

“The Image Fulgurator is best used to corrupt the tourist experience, as masses of sightseers gather and robotically landmarks and ‘places of interest,’ often with loved ones in the photos, as souvenirs. Perched among the tourists, resembling a normal camera on a tripod, the Image Fulgurator quietly subverts sightseeing once tourists look in their digital camera display to find an unexpected message.” (Grover et al. 2011 : 42) (Kim Knowles)


Julius von Bismarck, born 1983 in Breisach, Germany, lives and works in Berlin.



Andrea Grover et al. (ed.), New Art/Science Affinities (Pittsburgh: Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University/CMU STUDIO, 2011).

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