The Occult and Film

Authored by: Brian Baker

The Occult World

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415695961
eBook ISBN: 9781315745916
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596769

10.4324/9781315745916.ch45

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Abstract

In many ways, the birth of cinema may be said to occur in the same period of rapid technological invention in the late nineteenth century that produced other machines of mass communication – the telephone, gramophone, and ultimately radio – that have been the focus of theorists and historians of media from Marshall McLuhan (Understanding Media, 1964) to Friedrich Kittler (Gramophone, Typewriter, Film, 1999). Cinema occurs at the point at which imaging technologies developed through the daguerreotype and photography proper were matched with the flexible and transparent medium celluloid, producing the possibility of cinematic reproduction of the world and, importantly, projection to a multi-member audience. Previous attempts, such as those by Eadweard Muybridge, to provide the effect of visual animation through spinning glass discs were hampered by the fragility of the technology: the cinematic apparatus, devised by the Lumière brothers and Thomas Edison, to produce the illusion of movement by the rapid succession of (24) frames per second, is reliant both on the invention of celluloid and on the mechanical flange that tricks the human eye.

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