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ARTIFICIAL DARKNESS: AN OBSCURE HISTORY OF MODERN ART AND MEDIA. Noam M. Elcott. University of Chicago Press, 2016. 318 pp. with 149 ills. 27 x 19 cm. LC 2015-31842 ISBN 9780226328973 In English.
Publisher's description: Darkness has a history and a uniquely modern form. Distinct from electrification, nightlife, and artificial light, "artificial darkness" has remained entirely overlooked until now. But controlled darkness was essential to the rise of photography, cinema, modern theater, and avant-garde art. Artificial Darkness is the first book to delve into this phenomenon and its multiple applications across various media and art forms. In exploring how artificial darkness shaped modern art and film, Noam M. Elcott addresses both sites of production, such as photography darkrooms, film studios, and scientific laboratories, and sites of reception like theaters, cinemas, and exhibitions. He argues that artists, scientists, and entertainers like Etienne-Jules Marey and Richard Wagner, Georges Melies and Oskar Schlemmer, were often less interested in the captured image than in everything surrounding it: the screen, the darkness, and the experience of disembodiment. At the heart of the book is "the black screen," a technology of darkness crucial to wide-ranging arts and media and the ancestor of today's blue and green screen technologies. Turning familiar art and film narratives on their head, Artificial Darkness is a revolutionary treatment of an elusive, yet fundamental, aspect of art and media history.
Indexing: Western, Europe — 1800-1900, 1900-1945 — Photography, Several Media
Plans: 71
Worldwide Number: 171017
Hardcover $45.00x (libraries receive a 10% discount on this title)    

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