Oliver Botar – Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media and the Arts


Lars Muller, ISBN: 978-3037784334, English, 112 pages, 2014,

Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media and the Arts is a catalogue of an extremely well researched exhibition of the work of this famous Hungarian painter, photographer and Bauhaus school professor. Alongside a high level of documentation of László Moholy-Nagy’s work, we also find a series of forward-looking projections about media and art that are worth mentioning. For example, Moholy-Nagy believed that people needed help managing the proliferation of media messages and limiting the amount of information they received. He researched and tested methodologies for sensory training that he applied to his students. Furthermore, Moholy-Nagy believed that art was first and foremost a form of information, arguing in the avant-garde journal De Stijl that artists could and should use reproductive technologies to make art. He developed installations of immersive audio-visual abstract spaces that involved the audience both physically and sensorially, some parts of which can be properly defined as kinetic art and/or sound art. He introduced smell into his performative artworks. He also thought that media were extending human faculties, informing in various ways the first generation of media theorists. Indeed, Moholy-Nagy is a symbol of how the deep interconnection between 20th century avant-gardism and technology has yet to be fully investigated. The exhibition, held at the Plug In in Berlin, featured original materials, and involved contemporary artists in recreating some of his works, as well as contributing their own responses celebrating his production and visions in a perfect short circuit.