Telegraph, Telepathy, Television: In Search of the Invisible

Telegraph, Telepathy, Television: In Search of the Invisible

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Dr. Bohdan Shumylovych

Center for Urban History

18.4.2024, 18:30

Conference Room of the Center for Urban History

We invite you to the lecture by Bohdan Shumylovych, which is part of the series of lectures "Let's Have a City…".

This talk will take us on a journey to the "past of modernity" when the word "tele" was used not only to explain the possibility of communication at a distance (thanks to the telephone or telegraph) but also to reflect on the possibility of contactless influence on other people (such as telepathy) or objects (such as telekinesis).

We are going to mention Julian Ochorowicz, a lecturer at Lviv University, who, after the invention of the telephone in 1878, predicted the imminent emergence of a technology for transmitting visual signals, such as the telephoton or telephotoscope. Ochorowicz's interests in physics, technical inventions, television, and the telephone combined with his interests in hypnosis, mediumship, and the transmission of signals through the human body. Although the emergence of mechanical and later electronic television required time, the European imagination conjured up wonderful images of the future in which people would be able to communicate from a distance.

Furthermore, "tele" and "vision," i.e., the distant look, offered the figure of "teleportation" — the transfer of a person over a distance employing a particular technology. The radio, which revolutionized the world's communication system, would also offer a heuristic metaphor — the possibility of transmitting thoughts through "thought waves" and "brain radio."

During the lecture, we will reflect on how each new technology changes our perception of the world and people and how television, which initially offered "seeing from a distance," became a tool for both "healing" and manipulation in late Soviet Ukraine.

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Dr. Bohdan Shumylovych

Center for Urban History

Historian and art historian, worked with the archive of the Faculty of Visual Arts at George Washington University, Washington (USA) and the archive of Open Society Institute (www.osaarchivum.org), in Budapest. In 2020, he received a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence. The main focus of his work is media history in East Central Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as media arts, visual studies, urban spatial practices, and urban creativity.

Credits

Cover Image: Сollage by Maryana Mazurak