Rudi Knoops, PhD in the Arts

The approach in both my arts practice and my PhD research is inspired by media archaeology: look in the rear-view mirror, gauge the affordances of an older and maybe analogue media technology, and explore how it can re-inject curiosity and wonder into our relationship with the techno aesthetics of contemporary society.
Cylindrical anamorphosis is one such seemingly obsolete visual media technology. It has its origins in a seventeenth century Baroque context of artificial magic: a distorted image can be observed in its reconstituted form through reflection in a cylindrical mirror. The analogue cylindrical mirror has the strange pre-digital processual power to generate images based on the position of the observer. In our media-saturated world where digital processual images are becoming standard, cylindrical anamorphosis uses its own analogue processual power and re-injects its wild analogue magic back into the twenty-first century digital media apparatus. However, by using moving images that are digitally manipulated, cylindrical anamorphosis is contaminated by the present, and becomes a hybrid contemporary version of artificial magic.
The appropriation of cylindrical anamorphosis is the central research topic in my practice-based PhD. A series of appropriations enables—or even demands—cross-links to other art disciplines such as music and dance, and a media archaeology inspired methodology of short-circuiting past and present can fashion new and imaginary media forms that may provide new insights into how we engage with media, and how media define us as human beings.


  • Prof. dr. Wilhelmus Hesling (supervisor, KU Leuven)
  • Prof. dr. Kurt Vanhoutte (supervisor, University of Antwerp)
  • Prof. dr. Bart Geerts (co-supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)

Research Group: Inter-Actions

Duration: 2010 - 2017