Benedikt Hjartarson: Visions from Beyond. Media/Mediums, Aesthetics and the Mysteries of Modernity
Hans Richter’s Vormittagsspuk is traditionally regarded as one of the key works of experimental film making in the 1920s. Scholars have focused primarily on Richter’s experimental techniques, formal aspects of the work and its dadaist images of burlesque play. Less attention has been paid to the links with spiritism and other currents of modern esotericism. The film’s imagery shows obvious traces of the epistemology of modern esotericism, its visions of the magical power of the aesthetic imagination and its conceptions of electronic media and manifestations of phenomena from other dimensions. Richter’s film is a noteworthy document about the important role of esoteric discourse in shaping cultural modernity in the early 20th century.
Keywords: avant-garde, experimental film, esotericism, spiritism, historical discourse analysis