Stampfer Dreams

STAMPFER DREAMS is a homage to the scientist Simon von Stampfer, who presented his invention of the Stroboscopic Discs in Vienna in 1833. These discs show all kinds of animated loops from abstract to figurative and from (literally) experimental to documentary, and in this way forshadow the variety of genres in animated film. All characters and animated sequences in STAMPFER DREAMS are taken from / based on these “optical magic discs”. The film begins at the time and in the alpine environment of Simon's childhood and vaguely follows his biography. Starting from the sight of the wheel of a watermill, three “dreams” illustrate Simon’s visions of developments in technology and art from the age of the industrial revolution in the 19th century to the present day. (Thomas Renoldner)

The invention of the “stroboscopic disks” of East Tyrolean mathematician Simon Stampfer in the mid-19th century is considered one of the internationally significant contributions to the development of cinematography. For director Thomas Renoldner, Stampfer’s discs represent the primeval cell of animation.  

Brought into the world by his creator, the little figure of Stampfer begins to wander through the landscape with the gaze of a rational Enlightenment philosopher while he observes the natural surroundings as a fascinating, infinite variation of quantifiable, relational connections.  

The Enlightenment is associated with the idea of being able to keep the unpredictable in check, to make it predictable and at the same time controllable. The idea that the irrational, the chaotic, the natural and chance can be eliminated as the dark side of reason so that an enlightened, just and free society can be created turns out to be an illusion, an instrument of self-deception. Fear emerges and destroys the modern scientific dream of mastering and controlling the world through knowledge.   In the end we see the result of this belief in reason, the unconditional belief in progress, the idea of healing through eradication.

At the end, in the form of the stroboscopic disc “Don Basilio”, there is fear – which, as Nietzsche wrote in On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral Sense, is the premonition that we dream on the back of a tiger, of mercilessness, greed, insatiability, and the murderous. (Christian Dewald)  

Translation: John Wojtowicz

Orig. Title
Stampfer Dreams
12 min
Thomas Renoldner
Orig. Language
Thomas Renoldner
Thomas Renoldner
Andi Haller
Simon von Stampfer (1833), Matthias Trentsensky (1833), Reinhold Bidner, Eni Brandner, Marzieh Emadi, Sina Saadat
Thomas Renoldner
Peter Staller, Sebastian Staller
Supported by
Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport / Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport, Wien Kultur, Land Tirol
Original Score
Christof Dienz
Animation Drafts
Thomas Renoldner
Color Design
Thomas Renoldner
Available Formats