Ralo Mayer & Philipp Haupt (Vienna)

Ralo Mayer and Philipp Haupt have been collaborating for some years on various projects and have co-founded the Manoa Free University in 2003. The structure of their cooperation is in short dynamic and beyond a short description. Recently they have been investigating performative aspects of model worlds in the framework of the reserach series HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORLDS.



>>Science Fiction Convention Workship

How Science Fiction is post-Fordism? The participants will ask this question by using methods of performative research, following the paths of film production and space exploration. The landing module will have spent 3 weeks in Graz, time to transmit some hi-res images accompanied by an audiotrack. The workship as well as the installation "Biosphere Atelier Méliès" are part of the research series HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORLDS at the Manoa Free University.

More information about dates and participation: http://manoafreeuniversity.org/scificonvention


>> Lectures/ Presentations/ Panel

Sunday, 24.9., 12 a.m. - 19 p.m.

Moderation: Marina Gržinić (Vienna /Ljubljana)

12:00 -14:30 Lectures

„Biosphere Atelier Méliès“

In 1897 Georges Méliès constructs his film studio as a glass house. In the following years he develops a range of essential film tricks and produces the first Science Fiction films like "Le Voyage dans la Lune". A century later the actual landing on the moon has been long ago. And post-Fordism, this daily looped model film, heavily resorts to the bag of tricks for the manipulation of space, time and subjectivity: Forced perspective, mirrors, masking. A futurist rear projection in the glass house of Forum Stadtpark, at the same time an introduction to the workship of the following weeks.


>> Radio

Wednesday, 27.9., 4.10., 11.10,   8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Weekly Transmission on Radio Helsinki FM92,6


>> Final presentation

Thursday 12.10., 8 p.m.

By and with Ralo Mayer, Philipp Haupt, Maren Grimm, Oliver Gemballa, Tomislav Medak a.o.


>> Contribution in MALMOE 34:

Fwd: Bwd: „For All Mankind“

X – Project Apollo

>> 22 July, 1969: Lunar module Eagle lifts off from the Moon and leaves a memorial plaque: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

>1961: In the aftermath of the Sputnik crisis and in the face of the continuing Soviet leadership role in outer space Kennedy holds a speech in front of the Congress where he propagandizes a landing on the Moon before the end of the decade. What follows is, beside the Manhattan Project, the greatest individual endeavor of the 20th century. Yet, in contrast to the top secret nuclear program, the Apollo Project integrates right from the beginning media coverage as well as the correlative individual enthusiasm of hundreds of thousands of people who directly or indirectly contribute to the Moon landing.

Science Magazine, November 1968: "In terms of numbers of dollars or of men, NASA has not been our largest national undertaking, but in terms of complexity, rate of growth, and technological sophistication it has been unique ... It may turn out that (the space program's) most valuable spin-off of all will be human rather than technological: better knowledge of how to plan, coordinate, and monitor the multitudinous and varied activities of the organizations required to accomplish great social undertakings."

>>> Owen Morris, chief designer of the lunar module, 1989: "Well, it was pretty hectic at the time. There were the same kinds of meetings that everybody is talking about, where you would get together on a frequent basis comparing notes about what the problems were, what anybody could do to help the situation. And there was a spirit of cooperation pretty much throughout the program. The point I was making earlier about communications, I think, was one of the bigger issues throughout the whole program. Being able to build a team and get people to talk with each other, were some of the keys in being able to do it in the kind of time span that we had. There were a lot of program management techniques learned that were foreign to many of us who were primarily from engineering and research backgrounds. I think those techniques were developed in the early '60s, and by '63 or '64 they were pretty well-honed and in place."

Y – Model / Film

>>> 1920ies: The studio system with its unification of production, distribution and screening has finally taken hold in Hollywood. The pioneering days of this New Economy, where everybody could do everything are over now.

>> In Germany, Fritz Lang shoots Metropolis in 1927. (For staging the mass scenes of the class society he makes use of the large number of cheap and willing unemployed people who are available at the moment.) In order to be able to insert actors into the miniature worlds of the futuristic city, director of photography Eugen Schüfftan develops a special effect together with Ernst Kuntmann which has been named after him later on. A model, which is mirrored in front of the camera, is added to a part of the actually existing setting. To achieve this, the reflective surface of the mirror is removed along the contours of the real object, so that the camera can shoot both the real scenery and the set extension simultaneously.

> The Schüfftan process is a classic movie special effect, which is, however, only rarely used nowadays and it belongs to the combination effects: Two images are combined into one. It is the great benefit of a combination effect that the ratio of the two images doesn’t matter. Thus the Schüfftan process saves money in the construction of the scenery. One can simply use a small model instead of a large and costly scenery. A mirror is placed at a forty-five-degree angle to the camera. Then the scenery is placed in a way that it takes up its final position in the camera image. The camera does not shoot the scenery directly but only its mirror image. After the scenery has been placed correctly, the parts of the reflective surface where the actors are to show up later are removed with a knife. So a part of the mirror becomes transparent. Where the mirror is intact, the mirror image of the scenery appears. Where the reflective surface has been scratched away, only transparent glass remains through which one can see the actors.

>> Film production as a model: organization / coordination of work, especially the roles of creativity and affects -> special affects! Here is also the link to the Apollo program, which, after all, was also fueled by the enthusiasm of the people involved in it.

Z – Science Fiction, Knowledge Production and Performative Research

>> SF literally means fiction about science. And, at least in the best cases, it is indeed always a covertly documentary genre too, some kind of docu-wolf in clone sheep’s clothing. Two of the most popular topoi of SF are miniature worlds and time machines. Moreover, both topoi do not only show up on the story level: rather, each (SF) story is in itself a small model world and time machine; i.e. both mirror the genre as well as each other. In several short-stories by Philip K. Dick there are also some direct translations between these tropes of time and space.

> How do these two topoi of contemplation and above all manipulation of time and space relate to current social and economic processes of transformation?

>> A propos Dick: In a lesser known text from 1953 he already anticipates the decline of astronautics because all missions only find rock deserts hostile to life out there – a nothing less than heretic view in those heydays of the space operas.

And as the New Worlds in outer space are more than disappointing, the creation of virtual simulation worlds becomes en vogue. Rings a bell?

>>> Performative research implies process-oriented investigations which are propelled by the purposeful use of scripts and sets. This can be performance but needn’t necessarily be. Due to its evident – and often self-reflexive – constructedness, and its popularity, Science Fiction can be especially suitable here.

> Well, let’s see. See you at the Convention.

>>home  -> exhibition + lectures 

Daegseingcny 2006, Ralo Mayer, Martin Udovic
Ralo Mayer&Philipp Haupt, Biosphere Atelier Melies
ManoaFreeUniversity - Science Fiction Convention Workship