Vision Machines and Pre-Cinematic Optical Devices: Panoramas, Stereoscopes and Places of Otherness Since the 18th century, optical devices and immersive technologies have been used in the form of panoramas and later the stereoscope, in order to transport the viewer into foreign lands or historical times, often seen as places of otherness. Viewers experienced a form of virtual travel, through the act of seeing panorama in a public place or a stereoscope in their living room. Some argue that these devices contributed to a new kind of observer in the 1840s (Crary), or that they are responsible for the rupture of established ideas of separated subject and object relations, as pre-cinematic devices. Today cardboard stereoscopes from google enable us to map things in virtual space, or walk the streets of Mumbai using our phones as VR viewers. What role did these devices play in society, art and culture in the past and how may they impinge today on perceptions of place making, mapping, the body, or underrepresented urban environments in their contemporary manifestations (as art practice or scholarship), for example? We are interested in proposals from artists, theorists and art historians, whose work engages these devices in their various forms. These can encompass the panorama, phenakistiscope, zoetrope, stereoscope or virtual reality.
Session Chairs: Simonetta Moro, Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, and Rebecca Hackemann, University of the Arts London. Kansas State University.
The 2016 SECAC Conference will be held in Roanoke, VA, hosted by Virginia Tech and Hollins University (http://www.secacart.org/conference). Sessions will include panels by artists and art historians on a variety of topics.