By Noam M. Elcott
In exploring how synthetic darkness formed smooth artwork, movie, and media, Noam M. Elcott addresses seminal and imprecise works along their websites of production—such as images darkrooms, movie studios, and laboratories—and their websites of reception, together with theaters, cinemas, and exhibitions. He argues that artists, scientists, and entertainers like Étienne-Jules Marey, Richard Wagner, Georges Méliès, and Oskar Schlemmer revolutionized not just photographs but additionally every thing surrounding them: the display, the darkness, and the adventure of our bodies and house. on the center of the booklet is “the black screen,” a know-how of darkness that spawned today’s blue and eco-friendly monitors and has undergirded quite a few complicated paintings and movie practices to this day.
Turning commonplace artwork and picture narratives on their heads, Artificial Darkness is a progressive remedy of an elusive, but primary, point of artwork and media history.
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Extra resources for Artificial Darkness: An Obscure History of Modern Art and Media
96 London’s Glasshouse Street was so named because of the prevalence of glass-house studios. ”97 Neither light nor darkness per se, but rather their mediation. With the darkroom— and its glass room correlate—the dispositif of artificial darkness gained a foothold in manifold sites of image production. 98 * * * Of outsized import to an archaeology of artificial darkness was the threshold where glass room and darkroom converged. ”99 The thresholds that strictly separated luminous spaces from dark ones were functional dark cavities, black openings, black grounds, or, to speak with Marey, black screens.
First, neither Chevreul nor Rosenstiehl could claim credit for the distinction between material and absolute black. That division was already established in the field of physiology—and was intuited, if untheorized, for centuries. Second and more important, recent advances in physiology demonstrated that Chevreul’s absolute black was a contradiction in terms, at least from the perspective of human vision. Indeed, Chevreul’s discovery was but a symptom of a much broader cleaving of blackness from darkness that unfolded in the mid-nineteenth century.
9). Marey’s 24 \ chaptEr oNE FI g . 6. Marey, chronophotograph, c. 1882. Photograph and text from albums assembled and annotated between 1882 and 1889, under the direction of Marey. ” Fonds Marey, Collège de France. FI g . 7. Marey, chronophotograph, c. 1883. Photograph and text from albums assembled and annotated between 1882 and 1889, under the direction of Marey. ” Fonds Marey, Collège de France. F Ig . 8. Georges Demenÿ in the “human skeleton” suit, 1884. Album A, plate 12, Musée Marey, Beaune.