Audiovisions: Cinema and Television as Entr'actes in History

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Amsterdam University Press, 1999 - Performing Arts - 356 pages
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The production, distribution, and perception of moving images are undergoing a radical transformation. Ever-faster computers, digital technology, and microelectronic are joining forces to produce advanced audiovision -the media vanishing point of the 20th century. Very little will remain unchanged.

The classic institutions for the mediation of film - cinema and television - are revealed to be no more than interludes in the broader history of the audiovisual media. This book interprets these changes not simply as a cultural loss but also as a challenge: the new audiovisions have to be confronted squarely to make strategic intervention possible.

Audiovisions provides a historical underpinning for this active approach. Spanning 100 years, from the end of the 19th to the end of the 20th century, it reconstructs the complex genesis of cinema and television as historically relative - and thus finite - cultural forms, focussing on the dynamics and tension in the interaction between the apparatus and its uses. The book is also a plea for "staying power" in studies of cultural technology and technological culture of film.

Essayistic in style, it dispenses with complicated cross references and, instead, is structured around distinct historical phases. Montages of images and text provide supplemental information, contrast, and comment.





 

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Page 80 - In handicrafts and manufacture, the workman makes use of a tool, in the factory, the machine makes use of him.
Page 246 - Television condemns us to the Family, whose household utensil it has become just as the hearth once was, flanked by its predictable communal stewing pot in times past.
Page 114 - Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit" ["The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical...
Page 274 - We know from everyday experience that both systems will be "good," that physical experiments performed in a uniformly moving train or ship will give exactly the same results as on the earth. But, if the train stops, or accelerates abruptly, or if the sea is rough, strange things happen. In the train, the trunks fall off the luggage racks, on the ship tables and chairs are thrown about and the passengers become seasick. From the physical point of view this simply means that the laws of mechanics cannot...
Page 60 - Mr. Muybridge has laid the foundation of a new method of entertaining the people, and we predict that his instantaneous photographic, magic lantern zoetrope will make the round of the civilized world.
Page 80 - The technical subordination of the workman to the uniform motion of the instruments of labour, and the peculiar composition of the body of workpeople, consisting as it does of individuals of both sexes and of all ages, give rise to a barrack discipline, which is elaborated into a complete system in the factory, and which fully develops the...
Page 64 - I hope to be able by the invention to throw upon a canvas a perfect picture of anybody, and reproduce his words. Thus, should Patti be singing somewhere, this invention will put her full-length picture upon the canvas so perfectly as to enable one to distinguish every feature and expression of her face, see all her actions and listen to the entrancing melody of her peerless voice I have already perfected...
Page 129 - Lebens vorstellen kann, unsere in diesem Sinn anarchische Gesellschaftsordnung ermöglicht es, daß Erfindungen gemacht und ausgebaut werden, die sich ihren Markt erst erobern, ihre Daseinsberechtigung erst beweisen müssen, kurz Erfindungen, die nicht bestellt sind. So konnte die Technik zu einer Zeit soweit sein, den Rundfunk herauszubringen, wo die Gesellschaft noch nicht soweit war, ihn aufzunehmen. Nicht die Öffentlichkeit hatte auf den Rundfunk gewartet, sondern der Rundfunk wartete auf die...
Page 90 - From the turn of the century until the outbreak of World War I, Americans swelled the ranks of the peace crusaders.
Page 246 - ... the hearth used to be, flanked by its communal kettle. In that opaque cube, one light: the film, the screen? Yes, of course. But also (especially?), visible and unperceived, that dancing cone which pierces the darkness like a laser beam. This beam is minted, according to the rotation of its particles, into changing figures; we turn our face toward the currency of a gleaming vibration whose imperious jet brushes our skull, glancing off someone's hair, someone's face. As in the old hypnotic experiments,...

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