A Pre-Cinema connection

the praxinoscope | Reynaud 1876
Praxinoscope | Reynaud 1877

The pre-cinema history encompasses a myriad of toys and optical devices that all strive to create an illusion of ‘moving’ images by exploiting the persistence of vision effect.
The Praxinoscope creates this illusion of movement by turning an outer cylinder, containing a series of images, round an inner cylinder with a series of rectangular mirrors.   The viewer perceives the series of  images reflected in the mirrors as if they were moving.
The image series usually depict very simple actions that permit repetition and offer the possibility of perpetual continuation of movement in endless loops.

These optical contraptions are not (yet) aimed at narrative uses of media. They are pre-cinema & pre-narrative, and focus solely on the enchantment with the illusion of the moving image.

And exactly this is interesting to me. I will of course also be working with the persistance of vision effect, as this is fundamental to the working of video, but that is not the object of my research. I will instead focus on different ways to evoke/invoke ‘enchantment’, ‘wonder’.
In DIORAMATIZED #01 the wonderment is linked to the deconstruction of something which is normally perceived in a multilayered composited form (as in empirical reality), and secondly to the use of mirrors. But here the goal of using mirrors is not to enhance the persistence of vision effect, but to limit the perspective for each mirrored image.

The cylindrical construction will house the display(s), and the viewer/listerer explores the ‘spectacle’ from inside the cylinder.
By adopting this cylindrical form DIORAMATIZED #01 might also lure the viewer/listener into the world of wonders of optical devices of the past.

For more information on pre-cinema tradition:
– Devices of Wonder: http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/devices/
– Early visual media archeology: http://users.telenet.be/thomasweynants/
– The Bill Douglas Centre:  http://www.exeter.ac.uk/bdc/virtual.shtml


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