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Virtual worlds in early cinema 2021 : 13th International Seminar on the Origins and History of Cinema: Virtual worlds in early cinema: devices, aesthetics and audiences


When Oct 20, 2021 - Oct 22, 2021
Where online
Submission Deadline May 5, 2021
Categories    art history   visual studies   film studies   film history

Call For Papers

The seminar Virtual worlds in early cinema: devices, aesthetics and audiences comes from an obvious desire for articulating a clear relationship among cinema’s past and contemporary audiovisual’s present. The nodal point of the project is the concept of virtual worlds. As Pierre Lévy states, we assist nowadays before a “general movement of virtualization has begun to affect not only the fields of information and communication but also our physical presence and economic activities, as well as the collective framework of sensibility and the exercise of intelligence. The process of virtualization has even affected our modalities of being together, the constitution of a collective "we" in the form of virtual communities, virtual corporations, virtual democracy...”.

At the present time, an essential debate in the study of early cinema consists in the possibility of thinking in which way cultural series pre-exist. If the goal of early cinema studies was no other than trying to analyze the cultural, aesthetics, economical and social conditions which had accompanied the birth of a new way of expression, currently the debate has been moving into the possibility of creating and establishing bonds among past and present. In order to understand the emergency of virtual worlds, we have to consider why dioramas or panoramas proposed to 19th century audiences ways of immersion in a universe built by images. In order to understand how new depth of field three-dimensional forms are generated it is necessary to know how from the beginning of photography stereoscopic images arose and how these were already present under the model of relief cinema in 1910. It is also necessary to know that despite sound film official institutionalization in 1927, a series of tests oriented to the search of systems for sound synchronization were already carried between 1907 and 1908. Cinema was born to expand itself beyond cinema itself because, ultimately, the notion or idea of virtuality was already present in many of the visual devices which were created between the ending of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century. It is for this reason that in order to study how the virtual universes of early cinema were generated, it is necessary to know the devices that originated them and the places where they were produced. At the same time it is also key to know which were the aesthetic challenges that cinema undertook beyond the moving images’ projection onto a screen. From the beginning there were created spectacles such as the Hale’s Tours that simulated the movement in a mean of transportation while the images were being projected or Mareoramas that recreated boat travels, with the purpose of creating immersive type experiences. All these elements proposed aesthetic proposals for which cinema was not unrelated and that went through a desire of the virtualization of the experience, but also produced certain audience models which seek to find a correlate between virtual experience offered by the spectacles, with the new perceptive experiences originated in real life in a changing moment caused by the modernity.

Paper Submission Guidelines

Topic A: Virtual worlds in early cinema: devices, aesthetics and audiences

- Media archeology. The archeological study of the devices previous or contemporary to the cinematograph might be helpful to introduce the History of cinema inside a much broader process, focused on the evolution of visual devices, screens and projection/audition systems.

- The viewer experience in the face of the visual spectacles. In order to comprehend the devices’ impact. It is fundamental to know which was the audience experience in front of the images.

- Virtual experiences on early films. Another research path might draw from the period existing films, in order to check how new sensorial ways are glimpsed in them. The idea of considering early cinema films as spaces to the visual attraction can lead us to consider the realist simulation effects that they gather.

- Immersive spectacles and virtualization. The study of leisure spaces from the past reflects the existence of hybrid spectacle systems, between cinema, theater, magic lantern which proposed specific forms of exhibition and enhanced the viewer immersion in possible worlds.

- Bridges between the past and the development of virtual technology in the present. It is possible to establish a thinking that carries out a revision of the past through a double logic based on the analysis of the re-use by the new technologies of preexisting techniques and other based on the aesthetic reflection around virtuality modes in the present and its connection with other aesthetic achievements that were developed in a moment of transformation and reuse of the means of communication.

Topic B: pre-cinema and early cinema

- Presentation of works in progress on pre-cinema or cinema until 1915.

Extension: Abstract of the communication in 60 lines maximum where it appears the state of the question that is posed, bibliographical references, primary, secondary or unpublished research documentary references and the novelty of the contribution.

Deadline for abstracts: May 5th 2021

Deliver to:

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