Craft & Design
The brains behind “The Image Fulgurator”

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Here’s a follow up to our first post about “The Image Fulgurator” from Wired, more details, history and discussion of this project

Julius von Bismarck’s ‘Image Fulgurator’ projects stealth images into the photographs of strangers, while keeping those images invisible to human eyes. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either a clever hack or an obnoxious intrusion. Naturally, we had to find out more.

Yesterday, von Bismarck’s device made its premature debut on the internet. Today we met him in his hometown, Berlin, to talk about the device, the thinking behind it and the inevitable deluge of e-mails from viral marketers wanting use it to smash their way further into our brains.

But first, about that name: According to von Bismarck, ‘Image Fulgurator’ comes from the Latin for ‘lightning’ (fulgur) and means ‘Flash Thrower’.

12 thoughts on “The brains behind “The Image Fulgurator”

  1. I think it’s a compelling & interesting project, but I wonder about the gun-fetish aesthetic. Not only does the camera have a pistol grip, but von Bismarck’s video has him assembling the camera ala sniper-gun movie cliche. The pistol grip seems particularly notable since it is counter to the (presumed) desire to have the fulgurator be as innocuous as possible.

    I also thought it notable that his logo references the Red Army Faction’s. I honestly wonder if he’s really thinking through and taking responsibility for using this kind of imagery (or if it is just easy dramatics).

    Images of the two logos:
    http://www.juliusvonbismarck.com/fulgurator/bilder/raf.jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4d/RAF-Logo.svg/474px-RAF-Logo.svg.png

  2. It’s just a novelty. To use it, you need a place where an image can be projected legibly. Imagine trying to tag a message onto a gothic cathedral, for example – it ain’t gonna happen. You also need to know that many people will be photographing something and that they will be using flashes. This rules out all buildings, landscapes and anything else where the built-in flash of a compact camera will be hopelessly weak. And even then, the first day someone discovers their lovely photos of their family holiday at Disneyland are covered in copyright notices is going to be a bad press day for Disney. Imagine having the reason you hate a certain company being preserved for ever in your family album. Plus, being able to check your shot instantly with your digital camera means sooner or later, someone will track down the source of the problem and put something in front of it – end of problem.

  3. @Ethan – From the guy’s website about this project, he seems like a psychotic nut. Is it any surprise he has a gun fetish too?

  4. NowHere,

    What about his website makes him seem psychotic? Aside from my two above comments, I don’t see anything objectionable.

  5. Nothing on his site makes him appear psychotic. As for the gun fetish, probably he just recycled a Fotosnaiper kit. Search the interwebs for it, it’s basically the same device.

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