Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 15. Nr. August 2004

10.3. Kunst und neue Medien
HerausgeberIn | Editor | Éditeur: Ursula Hentschläger / Zelko Wiener (Wien)

Buch: Das Verbindende der Kulturen | Book: The Unifying Aspects of Cultures | Livre: Les points communs des cultures

The Sunpendulum Concept

Kurt Hofstetter


First of all it is quite fascinating for me to report on unifying aspects in my experiences touching different cultures within the realisation process of my media art project "Sunpendulum".

Let me introduce you to the Sunpendulum concept, which I released in 1997.


images by Hofstetter Kurt © 1997 ff



"As time goes by, that means with the rotation of the earth sunlight wanders its way to earth.

In 12 time zones around the earth videocameras are directed towards the sky and connected online to the InterNet. 12 videocameras - time-eyes - around the earth watch the sky. - INPLUSION

At a certain place on earth 12 screens are set up in a circle within a pavilion. Those screens are connected online via the Internet with the 12 time-eyes and transmit the sunlight from the 12 time zones. - EXPLOSION

A sun clock is being created.

With public and private support I was able to begin the realisation of my project in 1998. Since 1999 the Sunpendulum team has been going around the earth installing the 12 Sunpendulum Time-Eyes in the 12 time zones. We have already installed 9 Time-Eyes at universities in 9 time zones. On the occasion of the Sunpendulum Time-Eye's installation each university held a press conference, including a contemplative video presentation about the Sunpendulum project (approx. 20 minutes long) to mediate the artistic concept, essential Sunpendulum visualisations as well as to communicate the scientific collaborations.

What has certainly been an unifying aspect has been the series of incredibly successful media reports and the press coverage that followed the Sunpendulum press conferences, even though the public relations experts in all the time zones strictly advised against a contemplative, artistic video presentation within the framework of the press conferences. So I think the artistic concept initiates a reflection on the archaic relationship with the all-encompassing cosmos as well as being embedded at every moment in its ongoing process and that 20 minutes of time reinforces the strength of the experience.

Within the frame of the Time-Eye's installation" two representatives of the respective time zones are invited to be involved in the parallel project "facing time sunset talks".

I spend one hour with each invited person facing the sun during sunset. We are parallel to each other; our seeing rays and the sunbeams in parallel point to the same infinitely distant point, where they meet each other. Simultaneously, we rotate with the earth and circulate around the sun. It is about parallelism and circulation, staged to experience time within 12 different cultures.

Moments of this time experience are recorded by a video camera. The camera is directed towards the sun and towards the same infinitely distant point, back-light shooting. The persons become silhouettes that frame the light of the sun. The radical reduction of the formal matter and action (story line), intensified by the camera focus, consequently repeated all around the earth, gives the viewer time to reflect. The slowness of the pictures allows the possibility of finding parallel contents beyond the formal image reception. To spend time with time, from abstract time (artificial slow motion of natural movements) to time experienced as a cosmic process (rotation of the earth) ... or to be bored ... as long as the picture is interrupted by a certain question, which again reflects on time. Image perception depends on time - time encodes images.

video still by Barbara Doser © 1999

It is again a unifying aspect, that in all the "sunset talks" I have experienced more or less the same series of communication stages - the mood of the various situations within the first 20 minutes show:

a very clear process of touching -
a lot of questions regarding the Sunpendulum -
personal questions -
usually a disregard of the Sunset phase -
the Sunset is really incidental and not of direct interest -
some comments on the ongoing weather

from 20 - 40 minutes:

no more concrete questions of interest -
all questions have already been asked -
it does not matter whether they are answered or not -
the first moments of looking consciously at the Sun -
catching Sky moments -
still -
nothing to say
boring -
very boring -
what I am doing here? -
what is going on in the very next moment ? -
waiting -
is this an artistic performance ? -
nothing happens -
really nothing more than the sunset -
quite exhausting to view the sun directly -
the sunbeams exert a pressure on the body -

from 40 - 60 minutes:

the sun getting stronger and stronger -
everything becoming relaxed -
the body is warm getting into a good mood -
your frequency is tuned to the sun -
there is nothing more of interest -
no more questions -
still -
simply sitting and facing the Sun -
reflecting and non-reflecting -
enjoying the situation -
simply a cosmic experience -
thank you.

© Kurt Hofstetter


born on July 16, 1959 in Linz, concept and media artist, living and working in Vienna.
artistic domains: concepts, sound-compositions, mathematical reflections, light sculptures, computer & video installations, InterNet sculptures, time sculptures, media art installations in public space


2003 sunpendulum time-eye of Calcutta - Jadavpur University Calcutta - India - Calcutta
2003 sunpendulum time-eye of Hong Kong - HK University of Science & Technology - China - Hong Kong
2002 sunpendulum time-eye of Dubai - Zayed University Dubai - United Arab Emirates - Dubai
2001 sunpendulum time-eye of the Azores - Universidade dos Acores - Portugal - Angra Heroismo
2000 sunpendulum time-eye of Ensenada - Universidad de Baja California - Mexico - Ensenada
2000 sunpendulum time-eye of New Orleans - University of New Orleans - Nerw Orleans
2000 sunpendulum time-eye of Cairo - Ain Shams University Cairo - Cairo
1999 sunpendulum time-eye of Granada - Universidad de Granada - Spain - Granada
1999 sunpendulum time-eye of Bermuda - Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute - Bermuda
1999 sunpendulum time-eye of Hawaii - Maui High Performance Computing Center - Maui /Hawaii
1994 one moment of time - railway station "Vienna South" - Vienna
1993 planet of the commuters with the 3 time-moons - rail & sub station "Landstraße - Vienna Middle" - Vienna


2002 'facing time eyes' www-client - - WWW
2001 'facing time eyes' 1st installation - look around, Medienwerkstatt Wien - Vienna
2000 'as time goes b-eye' - sunpendulum reflection, Egyptian Embassy - Vienna
1999 'lips pendulum', 'complementary light pendulum' - II=0, Echoraum - Vienna
1998 'moments in communication' - Sarajevska Zima / internat. art festival - Sarajevo
1997 'die Zeit pendelt durch den Raum' - Arbeit Buch Wissenschaft, Arbeiterkammer - Vienna
1997 'the smile that you send out returns to you' - TopCall, stock market - Vienna
1996 'moments underway' - art cards in Euro-City trains - Europe
1996 'moving moments @ pendel' - "Schrägspuren" - international video festival - Klagenfurt
1996 'moving moments @ pendel' - 100 Years Cinema, Art Hall Vienna - Vienna
1996 'moving moments @ pendel' - internat. Festival - Media Scape 4 - Zagreb
1992 'time-eye' - Im Augenblick, Haus Wittgenstein/Thurn&Taxis - Vienna/Bregenz
1991 'Explosion Inplusion' - light installation, Skala - Vienna
1990 'Samples & Pictures' in HPC - Industry 90, fair area - Hannover - Hannover
1989 'Hofstetter Pendulum Clockwork' (HPC) - World Tech Vienna, Austria Center Vienna - Vienna

COOPERATIONS (selection)

1997 - 2002 sunpendulum architecture, research and parallel media work with the sunpendulum team in progress
1997 Luminers Call - Date 1 - media performance with Barbara Doser - European Cultural Month 1997 - Ljubljana
1996 pendel- datapool of moments - - with Ars Electronica Center - since 1996 a www-residence project - WWW / Linz
1996 moving moments 96 - exchange of video moments via InterNet with Doser / Math - Sarajevo - Vienna - WWW
1995 frame 04199401.0-4 - video-infrared-sound-installation with Doser / Math - Museum of Applied Arts - MAK - Vienna
1995 Changing Messages Parallel Crossover - telematisches Radio-Live-Event - with Doser / Math - TRANSIT ORF-Art Radio/ Radio Sarajevo - Innsbruck
1994 Mreza/Netz - telephone concert in Ljubljana, Belgrade, Pula with the project group Mreza/Netz - Sarajevo, Skopje and Vienna; Remise-Vienna Vienna
1993 Against Violence - dance, video- and sound performance with Zabelka, Doser, Uveric, Carneiro, Kotterer - subway station Vienna-Middle - Vienna

VIDEO-, SOUND- & PROJECT presentations with Barbara Doser in more than 22 countries - selection:

int. film festival Rotterdam, Rencontres international Paris/Berlin, 'short cuts cologne'/Köln, int. video festival / Kansk, 'file' - Sao Paulo, New York independent film and video festival, Festival des Cinémas Différents / Paris, Film+Arc 1/Graz, Ostranenie/Dessau, Next Five Minutes / Amsterdam, Biennale/St.Petersburg, Media Wave/Györ ... | vertreten bei "Video Edition Austria release 01" Medienwerkstatt-Wien.


2003 Austria Center Vienna The Unifying Aspects of Cultures lecture 'time?experience' Vienna
2002 University of Vienna / Pulizistik lecture 'video moments and violence' - Vienna
2002 European Symposium on Solar Architecture 'the Sunpendulum pavilion #2 / solar cells' Vienna
2002 Zayed University Dubai lecture 'Sunpendulum - artistic details' - Dubai
2001 Medienwerkstatt Wien talk 'moebius tape in terms of time & sound' - Vienna
2001 Museum of Modern Art East&East split reality 'artistic communication former yugoslavia' - Vienna
2001 Summer Academy Riczsovary workshop 'moments in communication' / Hungary - Ricszovary
2000 University of New Orleans lecture 'Sunpendulum - artistic details' - New Orleans
1999 University of Vienna / Institute for Cybernetics lecture 'the sunpendulum project' - Vienna
1999 Summer Academy Topolcianky workshop 'moving moments' / Slovakia - Topolcianky


2002 scientific papers about simple constructions of the Golden Section published at Forum Geometricorum
1993 protection by patent of the Republic of Austria for the "Hofstetter Pendulum Clockwork" - permanent installation in the Historical Museum of Vienna
1996 Brunel Award Commendation - Copenhagn - international award for the permanent media installation at the
railway station "Landstraße - Vienna Middle" "planet of the commuters with the three time-moons"

10.3. Kunst und neue Medien

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Kurt Hofstetter: The Sunpendulum Concept. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 15/2003. WWW:

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