Wednesday, November 19, 2008

magic television

I am now up to D in my recataloguing of all readings in my filing cabinet. I have been a little bit ruthless in throwing out articles I can't remember reading the first time, deciding on a closer look that there was no way I was going to try reading them again because they were now very irrelevant, considering the direction my phd finally took. I am looking forward to using the shredder!

I have been enjoying reminiscing over many of the books and articles on 19th century visual entertainments. For while there during the phd process (say for about 18 months) I became very focussed on trying to draw an argument on the connection between very early technologies like the magic lantern and the liveness we find in television. There is so much written about early cinema history and the technologies that preceded it, but very little about television. I had forgotten I had a whole photocopy (ssssh..don't tell anyone) of Barnouw's The Magician and the Cinema, as well as the wonderful books by Jonathan Crary (real not photocopied) and lots of other bits and pieces on Lumiere, Melies, and actuality films generally. In last week's major throwout I found endless drafts of a chapter called 19th century televisuality. In the end, I decided it was too long a bow to draw. I had little access to any supporting archival material and went with the early experimental mechanically scanned TV images instead that I could find as digital reproductions. Still, it's lovely to look back at the pictures of the magic lanterns, the dioramas, the kaleidoscopes, the peepshows, and all the other imaginative names inventors came up with for describing images that moved.

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