"Taking Imaginary Photos with Tamás Waliczky's Imaginary Cameras"

Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák

As Hungarian visual artist Tamás Waliczky has suggested, his series Imaginary Cameras, which consists of depictions of 24 kinds of cameras which, in theory, could be constructed, reverses the widely held trope according to which newly invented devices change our ways of seeing. Instead, the artist argues, an inventor's vision and worldview often predetermine the mechanisms of the apparatus and the character of the images a given device can create. For decades, Waliczky has been engaged with creating born-digital artworks, yet the series he presented at the 2019 Venice Biennale has a very material presence: the computer graphics are displayed on lightboxes, and the imaginary objects which they depict are analogue devices which, were they to exist, could be used to create or capture images which would have a material existence. Yet the fact that this world of objects created by Waliczky exists only in the immaterial world of binary codes raises questions of new materialism.


Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák, PhD served as the head of the Budapest Gallery, Budapest History Museum until 2021. She is currently a curator at the Historical Photo Department of the Hungarian National Museum.

Citation: Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák, "Taking Imaginary Photos with Tamás Waliczky's Imaginary Cameras," Artifact & Apparatus: Journal of Media Archaeology 1 (Fall 2021): 97–107.