Edward Ihnatowicz, SENSTER, c. 1970 / RE:Senster 2017-2018
@Speculum Artium 2021
Edward Ihnatowicz (b.1926 in Chełm Lubelski – d.1988 in London) was a London-based artist: sculptor and designer working in cast metal techniques. Attended the Ruskin School of Art and Drawing in Oxford. In the 1960’s he took on combining organic-like cast forms with hydraulic systems and electronic sensors. His Sound Activated Mobile (SAM) has been displayed at the Cybernetic Serendipity (1968). Ihnatowicz was invited by James Gardner, on behalf of the Philips technology company, to create a large-scale piece. In June 1970 the SENSTER was shipped to the Netherlands to be installed at Evoluon, Eindhoven. In the following years, Edward Ihnatowicz joined engineering networks. The artist supervised graduate students at University College London. The latest of his cybernetic works – the Bandit was created in 1973. During the last years of his life, the artist picked up experiments with digital animation.
SENSTER is a fine example of early media art. Working during the peak popularity of cybernetics, Edward Ihnatowicz translated concepts like feedback loop and control engineering into an original form of time-based work of art – a cybernetic sculpture. Steel skeleton of the sculpture moves delicately corresponding to the sound in its surrounding, the abstract form gains the feeling of a-live creature. In 1970 the piece became one of the major art projects supported by the Philips company, following in the steps of Nicolas Schöffer’s kinetic art sculpture “CYSP 1” (1956) and Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenakis and Edgard Varèse’s “Poème électronique” in the Philips Pavilion and environment (1958). After display cancellation in the mid-1970s, the piece was put on the list of lost media art projects.
In 2017-2018 the piece was restored by the Re:SENSTER project. AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow purchased and reactivated the piece in collaboration with fellows from the Fine Arts Academy Faculty of Intermedia. At present, it is housed at the AGH UST Faculty of Humanities. Re:Senster network continues to function within humanities-engineering research domain.
Trbovlje setup by Marek DŁugosz, RafaŁ Bieszczad, Anna Olszewska / AGH UST Krakow, Stane Lindič, Dejan Bregar