Simon Pummell 
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PS-1, Prosteishii Sputnik, a very simple satellite, was launched at night, on October 4, 1957 at 19:28:34 GMT. It created a wave of anxiety across the Western World, as it was seen as a sign of Russian Communist technological superiority.
Within days of the launch, patients were presenting at Psychiatric casualty units with delusions of being tracked and receiving messages from Sputnik PS-1.
It is a moment marked by psychiatric commentators as the 'death of God' as the all-seeing persecutor in psychotic delusions.


The Sputnik Effect is a gallery installation consisting of a large-scale moving-image diptych - created with two continuous loops of 3D stereo anaglyph images, projected on opposing walls. Viewers enter the gallery wearing traditional RED/GREEN anaglyph 3D glasses. The stereo 3D diptych will seem to envelop them.

Mirror-imaged, life-size, figures - one isolated figure on each screen - pace through obsessive looping behaviours, their bodies twisting and distorting in mute attempts to express unknown emotions.

Starting as mirrored images their actions slip out of sync and then completely diverge. As they move the onscreen, the figures are continuously circled and persecuted by writing down orbs: a hybrid satellite/typewriter technology.







This moving-image installation forms the gallery based element of a series of works - The Shock Head Suite - that explores the relationship between society, psychosis and technology. Key images in the project are inspired by sexual and technological image repertoire of Daniel Paul Schreberís late 19th century visionary/psychotic autobiographical writings.
By re-working these images The Shock Head Suite project seeks to create resonant contemporary archetypal and mythic images of our intimate physical and psychological relationship to technology.




PS-1, Prosteishii Sputnik, a very simple satellite, was launched at night, on October 4, 1957 at 19:28:34 GMT. It fell to Earth on January 4, 1958, after completing 1400 orbits. It immediately created a wave of anxiety across the Western World, as it was seen as a sign of Russian Communist technological superiority. It also created (what is informally referred to by psychiatrists as) the Sputnik Effect.

Within days of the launch, patients were presenting at Psychiatric casualty units with delusions of being tracked and receiving messages from Sputnik PS-1. This effect was re-enforced by the paranoia of the popular media presentations of the threat of Sputnik, and also the media celebration of the ability of amateur 'Radio Hams' to record signals from Sputnik as it orbited overhead.

It is a moment marked by psychiatric commentators as the 'death of God' as the all-seeing persecutor in psychotic delusions, and the definitive ascendancy of technologies of control and surveillance as the key agents of persecution in the cosmic constructions of psychotic patients.