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- DescriptionBeginning in the late eighteenth century, huge circular paramas presented their audiences with resplendent representations that ranged from historic battles to exotic locations. Such paramas were immersive but static. There were other paramas that moved--hundreds, and probably thousands of them. Their history has been largely forgotten. In Illusions in Motion, Erkki Huhtamo excavates this neglected early manifestation of media culture in the making. The moving parama was a long painting that unscrolled behind a window by means of a mechanical cranking system, accompanied by a lecture, music, and sometimes sound and light effects. Showmen exhibited such paramas in venues that ranged from opera houses to church halls, creating a market for mediated realities in both city and country. In the first history of this phemen, Huhtamo analyzes the moving parama in all its complexity, investigating its relationship to other media and its role in the culture of its time. In his telling, the parama becomes a window for observing media in operation. Huhtamo explores such topics as cultural forms that anticipated the moving parama; theatrical paramas; the diorama; the paramania of the 1850s and the career of Albert Smith, the most successful showman of that era; competition with magic lantern shows; the final flowering of the parama in the late nineteenth century; and the parama's afterlife as a topos, traced through its evocation in literature, journalism, science, philosophy, and propaganda.
- Author BiographyErkki Huhtamo, media historian and pioneering media archaeologist, is Professor in the Department of Design Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the coeditor of Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications.
- Author(s)Erkki Huhtamo
- PublisherMIT Press Ltd
- Date of Publication19/03/2013
- SubjectCommunication & Media
- Series TitleLeonardo Book Series
- Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass.
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintMIT Press
- Content Note120 b&w illus.
- Weight1030 g
- Width178 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine23 mm
- Interest AgeFrom 18
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