A laser projection onto a wall in a dark room. White lines showing an abstract landscape.

Abgott is a playable installation for a laser projector.

Created by Stefan Kraft in 2021 at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

A laser projector is one of the most primitive forms of a display: A dot of light, which acquires form only in motion. In Abgott players move from point to line to space, opening up a temporary world. But in the lines we draw lives something.

Abgott is a collection of five cyclically connected scenes, designed around and associatively thematizing abstraction and technology in regards to their own intrinsic destruction.

A laser projection onto a wall in a dark room. A red, disintegrating circle.

Vector displays (such as laser projectors or oscilloscopes) lead to the very beginnings of graphical computing, which are closely linked to the dawn of the first video games. Abgott prominently references, (re-)contextualizes and subverts Tennis for Two (1958), by some definitions the first ever video game.

William Higinbotham, the creator of Tennis for Two, was an American physicist and a member of the team that developed the first nuclear bomb (he later became a leader in the nuclear nonproliferation movement), and Tennis for Two was developed using computer systems designed to calculate trajectories of missiles.

A laser projection onto a wall in a dark room. In green, tennis for two.

The idea of wielding light as a weapon leads back at least to the apocryphal story of Archimedes using parabolic mirrors to wield sunlight in order to burn ships attacking Syracuse from back in 212 BC. Past and present popular culture, especially science fiction, often portrays lasers as the Weapon of the Future.

The laser and early vector graphics technology are both linked to past and future dreams and realities of violence.

Abgott runs on any show laser projector with an industry standard ILDA interface. A computer communicates with the projector over a network through an Ether Dream DAC. The software was built using Seb Lee-Delisle's ofxLaser, openFrameworks, and Unity. It is controlled via MIDI Controller.

A laser projection onto a wall in a dark room. White text: We live in the flicker.

The image produced by a laser projector is a fragile thing. It requires constant motion; the image disappears if it is interrupted in any way. The laser image flickers with increasing complexity of the image, its fickle light illuminating the room — like playing with fire.

A laser projection onto a wall in a dark room. In white lines, a cityscape from above.