Performing New Media, 1890-1915

Performing New Media, 1890-1915

Performing New Media, 1890-1915

Performing New Media, 1890-1915

Synopsis

In the years before the First World War, showmen, entrepreneurs, educators, and scientists used magic lanterns and cinematographs in many contexts and many venues. To employ these silent screen technologies to deliver diverse and complex programs usually demanded audio accompaniment, creating a performance of both sound and image. These shows might include live music, song, lectures, narration, and synchronized sound effects provided by any available party--projectionist, local talent, accompanist or backstage crew--and would often borrow techniques from shadow plays and tableaux vivants. The performances were not immune to the influence of social and cultural forces, such as censorship or reform movements. This collection of essays considers the ways in which different visual practices carried out at the turn of the 20th century shaped performances on and beside the screen.

Excerpt

Kaveh Askari, Scott Curtis, Frank Gray, Louis Pelletier, Tami Williams, Joshua Yumibe

Domitor, the international society for the study of early cinema, is a non-profit association for scholars interested in all aspects of early cinema from its beginnings to 1915. As its members know, Domitor is dedicated to exploring new methods of historical research; understanding and promoting the international exchange of information, documents and ideas; forging alliances with curators and film archivists; and nurturing the work of early career researchers. One of its most important activities is its biennial international conference. the first was held in Québec in 1990 and subsequent conferences were staged in Lausanne, New York, Paris, Washington, Udine, Montreal, Utrecht, Ann Arbor, Perpignan/Girona and Toronto. Brighton & Hove, England and the University of Brighton hosted Domitor in 2012 and this book is its proceedings.

Domitor’s members have been long involved in searching for and analysing the surviving primary evidence (such as films and documents related to production, retailing, distribution and exhibition), responding to the historiography of early cinema and engaging with the contemporary work of today’s early film historians. Particularly apparent is the persistent fascination of these historians with the relationship between early cinema and its various historical and intellectual contexts. These myriad contexts are intertextual and intermedial, and connect early film to a wide range of cultural and commercial practices, technologies, networks, economies, geographies, cultures, identities and ideologies. Framing early film’s production and exhibition practices within this wider terrain and determining the nature of these many relationships has defined much of Domitor’s activity.

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