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The cinema of exposure: spiritualist exposés, technology, and the dispositif of early cinema

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journal contribution
posted on 16.11.2015, 13:48 by Simone Natale
This article addresses the relationship between early cinema and the tradition of spiritualist exposés. The latter were spectacular shows performed by stage magicians in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, which aimed to debunk the tricks employed by spiritualist mediums in their séances. Drawing on the theoretical framework of the dispositif, this article shows how early cinema renewed and reinterpreted the tradition of the exposés. Focusing in particular on Hugo Münsterberg’s work, moreover, it addresses the connections between early film theory and psychological studies that debunked the illusions performed in spiritualist séances and stage magic. In the conclusion, the article proposes to employ the concept of “cinema of exposure” in order to address how early cinema invited spectators to acknowledge their own perceptual delusion.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Recherches sémiotiques

Volume

31

Issue

1-2-3

Pages

113 - 113

Citation

NATALE, S., 2011. The cinema of exposure: spiritualist exposés, technology, and the dispositif of early cinema. Recherches sémiotiques, 31 (1-2-3), pp. 113 - 129.

Publisher

© Association canadienne de sémiotique / Canadian Semiotic Association

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2011

Notes

This article is reproduced with permission from the publisher.

ISSN

0229-8651

eISSN

1923-9920

Language

en