Rikard Bencic – Rijeka

bullet machbullet



After some unsuccessful tries to get photographic proof for assumed airwaves accompanying the flight of a bullet, Ernst Mach1886 writes a letter to his colleague Peter Salcher, the expert on ballistics and photography, asking him for help. At that time, Peter Salcher is a professor at the Royal Naval Academy in Fiume (Rijeka), where he moved after finishing studies in Graz and spending some years teaching in Graz and Trieste.

Ernst Mach got inspired to reveal the invisible after hearing the lecture of famous Belgian ballistic Louis Melsens, who also assumed that compressed airwaves carried by the flying bullet are responsible for the part of the injury. Peter Salcher carries out series of experiments in Rijeka and succeeds in making the first photograph of flying bullet and its airwaves on supersonic speed. Despite the mutual presentation of results by Mach and Salcher to the scientific community in 1887, in the history of photography, the credit for taking this picture goes to Mach.


After some irrelevant check in a nearby village in 1992, they stopped for a coffee, before returning to their military position on the hill. Discussing the ability to react accordingly to eventual sudden life danger caused by the enemy, they ended up testing their speed in cocking the unloaded guns. They didn’t really understand what happened; there was no explanation for the bullet that just hit his stomach, injuring him to death. It was said that damage wouldn’t be that devastating had the bullet not lost the speed and changed its trajectory by passing through the arm he was holding in front first.


In dialog with architectural space of the site, authors are exploring possibilities of evoking, overlaying and retelling specific stories related to the cities they come from, their personal history and the history of the site. The installation consists of double analog projection, aiming to provide convergence of different stories to one focal point, thus creating a scenic experience that can be entered, interrupted, conveyed and finally retold by visitor or spectator. The interplay of specific images sets frame space of action for spectators, who, forced to walk through and cast shadows on the original set, resemble ghostlike protagonists of the story. Projection creates an opening to out-of-the-scene time, undermining the attempt to dysfunction linear comprehension of time; once the concept of past, present, and future is being lifted off, the possibility of changing and retelling the story becomes palpable.

fenster  bullet proj