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Tony Oursler's 'The Influence Machine' at Tate Modern

Date uploaded: January 28, 2013

The Influence Machine
Tate Modern, River landscape
15th–16th and 18th–19th February 2013, 18.00–22.00

Ghostly presences haunt Tate Modern’s riverfront landscape in an immersive installation by American artist, Tony Oursler. A large scale multimedia séance playing on the double meaning of ‘medium’, The Influence Machine was recently donated to Tate, along with several other works from the Artangel Collection.

Oursler conceived The Influence Machine as a kind of ‘psycho-landscape’. From the radio to the telephone, from television to the internet, the ‘influence machines’ of modern media have been deployed as tools of communication and information, but also interpreted as conduits for otherworldly voices. Delving deep into the history of media, he created an historic sound and light show which invoked the spirit of the phantasmagorias of the late eighteenth century to investigate what Oursler called ‘the dark side of the light’, an alternative history of disembodied communication.

Monologues by several figures, projected onto trees, walls and smoke, make references to key names from media history such as television pioneer John Logie Baird and Etienne Gaspard Robertson, who founded the first moving image theatre in a Paris crypt in 1763. The haunting soundtrack, performed on a glass harmonica, was composed by musician and expanded cinema pioneer Tony Conrad.

On Saturday 16th February, Tate Film also presents a one-off screening of Oursler’s single-channel videos in the Starr Auditorium.

Presented in collaboration with Artangel.

The Influence Machine by Tony Oursler was commissioned and produced by Artangel with The Public Art Fund, New York, and Beck’s; the project was first presented in Soho Square in London, W1, in November 2000.

Visit www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/influence-machine

Tony Oursler 'The Influence Machine', 2000, Photo David Cowley. Courtesy Artangel © Tony Oursler

Tony Oursler 'The Influence Machine', 2000, Photo David Cowley. Courtesy Artangel © Tony Oursler