The title of Fegerl‘s newly commissioned, site-specific installation, NYSTAGM, refers to a medical phenomenon called nystagmus, characterized by involuntary eye movements and the inability to focus. Synchronized, yet flashing at irregular intervals, the thousands of LEDs that compose this work and illuminate the interior volumes of the iconic Austrian Cultural Forum building give the impression that the systems contained inside are caught in an unstoppable frenzy.
Fegerl‘s aim is to visually transfer signs of intelligent behavior – in reference to the representation of computers in science fiction movies of the 1960s and 70s – to an architectural entity, thus implying a complex neuronal pattern that belongs to the building itself. Besides stressing old utopian ideas of artificial intelligence, this work investigates developments of embedded technology that surround, support and control contemporary life. The work transforms the building from a mere functional shell that exists to serve people, to a machine inhabited, and overtaken, by a man-made intelligence. Fegerl‘s intervention intends to question what will happen when the technological equivalent to human intelligence is finally achieved and the desired creation emancipates itself from its servile state, choosing a self-sufficient, self-determined way of existence.
Text by David Harper