Picturing American Modernity

Traffic, Technology, and the Silent Cinema

Author: Kristen Whissel

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822391457

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 286

View: 8090

In Picturing American Modernity, Kristen Whissel investigates the relationship between early American cinema and the experience of technological modernity. She demonstrates how between the late 1890s and the eve of the First World War moving pictures helped the U.S. public understand the possibilities and perils of new forms of “traffic” produced by industrialization and urbanization. As more efficient ways to move people, goods, and information transformed work and leisure at home and contributed to the expansion of the U.S. empire abroad, silent films presented compelling visual representations of the spaces, bodies, machines, and forms of mobility that increasingly defined modern life in the United States and its new territories. Whissel shows that by portraying key events, achievements, and anxieties, the cinema invited American audiences to participate in the rapidly changing world around them. Moving pictures provided astonishing visual dispatches from military camps prior to the outbreak of fighting in the Spanish-American War. They allowed audiences to delight in images of the Pan-American Exposition, and also to mourn the assassination of President McKinley there. One early film genre, the reenactment, presented spectators with renditions of bloody battles fought overseas during the Philippine-American War. Early features offered sensational dramatizations of the scandalous “white slave trade,” which was often linked to immigration and new forms of urban work and leisure. By bringing these frequently distant events and anxieties “near” to audiences in cities and towns across the country, the cinema helped construct an American national identity for the machine age.

The Civil War Dead and American Modernity

Author: Ian Finseth

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190848340

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 1598

The Civil War Dead and American Modernity offers a fundamental rethinking of the cultural importance of the American Civil War dead. Tracing their representational afterlife across a massive array of historical, visual, and literary documents from 1861 to 1914, Ian Finseth maintains that the war dead played a central, complex, and paradoxical role in how Americans experienced and understood the modernization of the United States. From eyewitness accounts of battle to photographs and paintings, and from full-dress histories of the war to fictional narratives, Finseth shows that the dead circulated through American cultural life in ways that we have not fully appreciated, and that require an expanded range of interpretive strategies to understand. While individuals grieved and relinquished their own loved ones, the collective Civil War dead, Finseth argues, came to form a kind of symbolic currency that informed Americans' melancholic relationship to their own past. Amid the turbulence of the postbellum era, as the United States embarked decisively upon its technological, geopolitical, and intellectual modernity, the dead provided an illusion of coherence, intelligibility, and continuity in the national self. At the same time, they seemed to represent a traumatic break in history and the loss of a simpler world, and their meanings could never be completely contained by the political discourse that surrounded them. Reconstructing the formal, rhetorical, and ideological strategies by which postwar American society reimagined, and continues to reimagine, the Civil War dead, Finseth also shows that a strain of critical thought was alert to this dynamic from the very years of the war itself. The Civil War Dead and American Modernity is at once a study of the politics of mortality, the disintegration of American Victorianism, and the role of visual and literary art in both forming and undermining social consensus.

Body Shots

Early Cinema’s Incarnations

Author: Jonathan Auerbach

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520941195

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 214

View: 8975

This original and compelling book places the body at the center of cinema's first decade of emergence and challenges the idea that for early audiences, the new medium's fascination rested on visual spectacle for its own sake. Instead, as Jonathan Auerbach argues, it was the human form in motion that most profoundly shaped early cinema. Situating his discussion in a political and historical context, Auerbach begins his analysis with films that reveal striking anxieties and preoccupations about persons on public display—both exceptional figures, such as 1896 presidential candidate William McKinley, and ordinary people caught by the movie camera in their daily routines. The result is a sharp, unique, and groundbreaking way to consider the turn-of-the-twentieth-century American incarnation of cinema itself.

Electric Dreamland

Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity

Author: Lauren Rabinovitz

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231527217

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 256

View: 7584

Amusement parks were the playgrounds of the working class in the early twentieth century, combining numerous, mechanically-based spectacles into one unique, modern cultural phenomenon. Lauren Rabinovitz describes the urban modernity engendered by these parks and their media, encouraging ordinary individuals to sense, interpret, and embody a burgeoning national identity. As industrialization, urbanization, and immigration upended society, amusement parks tempered the shocks of racial, ethnic, and cultural conflict while shrinking the distinctions between gender and class. Following the rise of American parks from 1896 to 1918, Rabinovitz seizes on a simultaneous increase in cinema and spectacle audiences and connects both to the success of leisure activities in stabilizing society. Critics of the time often condemned parks and movies for inciting moral decline, yet in fact they fostered women's independence, racial uplift, and assimilation. The rhythmic, mechanical movements of spectacle also conditioned audiences to process multiple stimuli. Featuring illustrations from private collections and accounts from unaccessed archives, Electric Dreamland joins film and historical analyses in a rare portrait of mass entertainment and the modern eye.

Picturing America

The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps

Author: Stephen J. Hornsby

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022638604X

Category: Art

Page: 289

View: 2523

In the United States, the art form flourished during the 1920s to the 1970s, when thousands of innovative maps were mass-produced for use as advertisements and decorative objects the golden age of American pictorial maps. Picturing America is the first book to showcase this vivid and popular genre of maps. Geographer and collector Stephen J. Hornsby gathers together 158 delightful pictorial jewels, most drawn from the extensive collections of the Library of Congress. In his informative introduction, Hornsby outlines the development of the cartographic form, identifies several representative artists, describes the process of creating a pictorial map, and considers the significance of the form in the history of Western cartography. Organized into six thematic sections, Picturing America covers a vast swath of the pictorial map tradition during its golden age, ranging from "Maps to Amuse" to "Maps for War."

Spectacular Digital Effects

CGI and Contemporary Cinema

Author: Kristen Whissel

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822377144

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 224

View: 7204

By developing the concept of the "digital effects emblem," Kristen Whissel contributes a new analytic rubric to cinema studies. An "effects emblem" is a spectacular, computer-generated visual effect that gives stunning expression to a film's key themes. Although they elicit feelings of astonishment and wonder, effects emblems do not interrupt narrative, but are continuous with story and characterization and highlight the narrative stakes of a film. Focusing on spectacular digital visual effects in live-action films made between 1989 and 2011, Whissel identifies and examines four effects emblems: the illusion of gravity-defying vertical movement, massive digital multitudes or "swarms," photorealistic digital creatures, and morphing "plasmatic" figures. Across films such as Avatar, The Matrix, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jurassic Park, Titanic, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, these effects emblems heighten the narrative drama by contrasting power with powerlessness, life with death, freedom with constraint, and the individual with the collective.

Refracted Visions

Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java

Author: Karen Strassler

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822391546

Category: Social Science

Page: 398

View: 1530

A young couple poses before a painted backdrop depicting a modern building set in a volcanic landscape; a college student grabs his camera as he heads to a political demonstration; a man poses stiffly for his identity photograph; amateur photographers look for picturesque images in a rural village; an old woman leafs through a family album. In Refracted Visions, Karen Strassler argues that popular photographic practices such as these have played a crucial role in the making of modern national subjects in postcolonial Java. Contending that photographic genres cultivate distinctive ways of seeing and positioning oneself and others within the affective, ideological, and temporal location of Indonesia, she examines genres ranging from state identification photos to pictures documenting family rituals. Oriented to projects of selfhood, memory, and social affiliation, popular photographs recast national iconographies in an intimate register. They convey the longings of Indonesian national modernity: nostalgia for rural idylls and “tradition,” desires for the trappings of modernity and affluence, dreams of historical agency, and hopes for political authenticity. Yet photography also brings people into contact with ideas and images that transcend and at times undermine a strictly national frame. Photography’s primary practitioners in the postcolonial era have been Chinese Indonesians. Acting as cultural brokers who translate global and colonial imageries into national idioms, these members of a transnational minority have helped shape the visual contours of Indonesian belonging even as their own place within the nation remains tenuous. Refracted Visions illuminates the ways that everyday photographic practices generate visual habits that in turn give rise to political subjects and communities.

Picturing the Americas

Landscape Painting from Tierra Del Fuego to the Arctic

Author: Peter John Brownlee,Valéria Piccoli,Georgiana Uhlyarik

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780300211504

Category: Art

Page: 320

View: 2420

A bold and richly illustrated survey of the traditions and stylistic evolution of landscape painting in the Americas


A Visual Anthropology

Author: Gordon Gray

Publisher: Berg

ISBN: 1847887600

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 192

View: 7010

Cinema: A Visual Anthropology provides a clear and concise summary of the key ideas, debates, and texts of the most important approaches to the study of fiction film from around the world. The book examines ways to address film and film experience beyond the study of the audience. Cross-disciplinary in scope, Cinema uses ideas and approaches both from within and outside of anthropology to further students' knowledge of and interest in fiction film. Including selected, globally based case studies to highlight and exemplify important issues, the book also contains suggested Further Reading for each chapter, for students to expand their learning independently. Exploring fundamental methods and approaches to engage this most interesting and vibrant of media, Cinema will be essential reading for students of anthropology and film.

Picturing modernity

highlights from the photography collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Author: Douglas Robert Nickel

Publisher: San Francisco Museum


Category: Photography

Page: 79

View: 3275

Highlights from the Photography Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art The SF MoMA was one of the first museums in the world to present photography as a fine art. More importantly, however, the museum recognized photography as one of the most vital and expressive art forms of the modern period. This superb collection of photographs features works from over 70 photographers including: Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Eugene Atget, Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand.

Picturing the Cosmos

A Visual History of Early Soviet Space Endeavor

Author: Iina Kohonen,Slava Gerovitch

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781783207435

Category: Astronautics

Page: 205

View: 4157

Picturing the Cosmos elucidates the complex relationship between visual propaganda and censorship in the Soviet Union in the Cold War period, focusing on the 1950s and 1960s. Drawing from a comprehensive corpus of rarely seen photographs and other visual phenomena narrating the Soviet Union's 1957 victory in the 'Race for Space', the author illustrates the media's role in cementing the way for Communism whilst retaining top-secret information. Each photo is examined as a deliberate, functioning part of a specific political, ideological and historical situation that helped to anchor the otherwise abstract political and intellectual concepts of the future and modernization.

Picturing Algeria

Author: Pierre Bourdieu

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231148437

Category: Social Science

Page: 248

View: 6035

As a soldier in the French army, Pierre Bourdieu took thousands of photographs documenting the abject conditions and suffering (as well as the resourcefulness, determination, grace, and dignity) of the Algerian people as they fought in the Algerian War (1954Ð1962). Sympathizing with those he was told to regard as Òenemies,Ó Bourdieu became deeply and permanently invested in their struggle to overthrow French rule and the debilitations of poverty. Upon realizing the inability of his education to make sense of this wartime reality, Bourdieu immediately undertook the creation of a new ethnographic-sociological science based on his experiencesÑone that became synonymous with his work over the next few decades and was capable of explaining the mechanics of French colonial aggression and the impressive, if curious, ability of the Algerians to resist it. This volume pairs 130 of BourdieuÕs photographs with key excerpts from his related writings, very few of which have been translated into English. Many of these images, luminous aesthetic objects in their own right, comment eloquently on the accompanying words even as they are commented upon by them. BourdieuÕs work set the standard for all subsequent ethnographic photography and critique. This volume also features a 2001 interview with Bourdieu, in which he speaks to his experiences in Algeria, its significance on his intellectual evolution, his role in transforming photography into a means for social inquiry, and the duty of the committed intellectual to participate in an increasingly troubled world.

Picturing Iran

Art, Society and Revolution

Author: Lynn Gumpert,Shiva Balaghi

Publisher: I.B.Tauris

ISBN: 9781860648830

Category: Art

Page: 143

View: 2866

This book assesses modern Iranian visual culture from the 1960’s and 1970’s and suggests that modernity in Iran was a creative, complex, and contested process. It examines the expression of Iranian modernity in a variety of media including painting and sculpture, photography, posters, and graphic arts. It highlights new modes of artistic production and the expanding scene in Iran: developments in Iranian art criticism, exhibition apparatus, education, and patronage. The contributors also address changes in the iconography of Iranian art and in the increasingly social role of the artist. This groundbreaking work demonstrates that the visual arts serve as an important archival record of a critical period in Iranian history.

Picturing Japaneseness

Monumental Style, National Identity, Japanese Film

Author: Darrell William Davis

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231102315

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 2322

Using biographic, historical, and textual analyses to elaborate an alternative, feminist cinematic tradition, this groundbreaking study presents an exploration of the impact of three French women filmmakers: Germaine Dulac, Marie Epstein, and Agnes Varda.

Picturing Tropical Nature

Author: Nancy Stepan

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 9780801438813

Category: Art

Page: 283

View: 6683

"Picturing Tropical Nature reflects on the work of several nineteenth- and twentieth-century scientists and artists, including Alexander von Humboldt, Alfred Russel Wallace, Louis Agassiz, Sir Patrick Manson, and Margaret Mee. Their careers illuminate several aspects of tropicalization: science and art in the making of tropical pictures; the commercial and cultural boom in things tropical in the modern period; photographic attempts to represent tropical hybrid races; antitropicalism and its role in an emerging environmentalist sensibility; and visual depictions of disease in the new tropical medicine."--Jacket.


Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture

Author: N.A

Publisher: Museum of Fine Arts Houston


Category: Architecture

Page: 168

View: 6289

Catalog of an exhibition held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, June 20-Sept. 12, 2010.

Picturing Pity

Pitfalls and Pleasures in Cross-Cultural Communication.Image and Word in a North Cameroon Mission

Author: Marianne Gullestad†

Publisher: Berghahn Books

ISBN: 178238880X

Category: Political Science

Page: 368

View: 8992

Picturing Pity is the first full length monograph on missionary photography. Empirically, it is based on an in-depth analysis of the published photographs taken by Norwegian evangelical missionaries in Northern Cameroon from the early nineteen twenties, at the beginning of their activities in this region, and until today. Being part of a large international movement, Norway sent out more missionaries per capita than any other country in Europe. Marianne Gullestad's main contention is that the need to continuously justify their activities to donors in Europe has led to the creation and maintenance of specific ways of portraying Africans. The missionary visual rhetoric is both based on earlier visualizations and has over time established its own conventions which can now also be traced within secular fields of activity such as international development agencies, foreign policy, human relief organizations and the mass media. Picturing Pity takes part in the present "pictorial turn" in academic teaching and research, constituting visual images as an exciting site of conversation across disciplinary lines.

Picturing the City

Urban Vision and the Ashcan School

Author: Rebecca Zurier

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520220188

Category: Art

Page: 407

View: 5375

"Zurier vividly locates the Ashcan School artists within the early twentieth-century crosscurrents of newspaper journalism, literary realism, illustration, sociology, and urban spectatorship. Her compassionate study newly assesses the artists' rejection of 'genteel' New York, their alignments with mass media, and their innovative ways of seeing in the modern city."—Wanda M. Corn, author of The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915-35 If the Ashcan School brought a special and embracing eye to the city, Rebecca Zurier in her richly contextual and impressively interdisciplinary book explains and evokes that historically specific urban vision in all its richness. Finally, in Picturing the City, we have the study these painters have long deserved. And we gain new and delightful access to New York City at the moment of its emergence as a compelling embodiment of metropolitan modernity."—Thomas Bender, Director, International Center for Advanced Studies, New York University "Picturing the City is both meticulous and wide-ranging in its assessment of the Ashcan artists and their passionate efforts to represent New York. It charts their pleasures and problems, warmth and prejudices, generosity and differences, originality and formula. It takes seriously their habits as journalists and provides the most complete sense of their immersion in a world of urban spectatorship and vision. Rebecca Zurier has written a wonderful, timely book that will be a benchmark for any future discussions of them."—Anthony W. Lee, author of Picturing Chinatown: Art and Orientalism in San Francisco "Rebecca Zurier takes us on an intellectually exhilarating and breathtakingly beautiful visual voyage through turn-of-the-century New York City as the Ashcan painters saw it. As we watch them learn a new way of looking in the commercially dynamic, sensual New York of a century ago, we too see that time and place with fresh eyes. Inevitably, thanks to Zurier, the way we look at city life today will change as well."—Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America

Picturing Time

The Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904)

Author: Marta Braun

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226071756

Category: Photography

Page: 472

View: 2472

A complete, illustrated survey of Etienne-Jules Marey's work that investigates the far reaching effects of her inventions on stream-of-consciousness literature, psychoanalysis, Bergsonian philosophy, and the art of cubists and futurists.

Picturing a Colonial Past

The African Photographs of Isaac Schapera

Author: Isaac Schapera,John L. Comaroff,Deborah James

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226114120

Category: History

Page: 224

View: 1232

This volume presents for the first time the selected photographs of the renowned British anthropologist Isaac Schapera (1905–2003). Taken between 1929 and 1934, largely during his earliest work among the Kgatla peoples of Bechuanaland (now Botswana), the 136 images in this selection reveal an emotional engagement and aesthetic impulse that Schapera seldom expressed in his writings. Covering a broad spectrum of daily activities, they include depictions of everything from pot making, thatching, and cattle herding to village architecture, vernacular medicine, and rainmaking ceremonies. Visually fascinating and of exceptional quality, these images capture the uniqueness of an African people in a particular time and place. They are contexualized and their significance explained in Jean and John Comaroff’s insightful introduction, while Adam Kuper’s illuminating biographical sketch of Schapera provides new insight into the life of the photographer. Picturing a Colonial Past reveals not only a rare side of old Botswana, but also of one of the most famous anthropologist who worked there.