Friday, January 30, 2015

Disseminating Architecture: Week 2: Panorama-rama

Leicester Square Panorama for Robert Barker by Robert Mitchell, 1801(building from 1792)
The visitors, after passing through a gloomy anteroom, were ushered into a circular chamber, apparently quite dark. One or two small shrouded lamps placed on the floor served dimly to light the way to a few descending steps and the voice of an invisible guide gave directions to walk forward. The eye soon became sufficiently accustomed to the darkness to distinguish the objects around and to perceive that there were several persons seated on benches opposite an open space resembling a large window. Through the window was seen the interior of Canterbury Cathedral undergoing partial repair with the figures of two or three workmen resting from their labours. The pillars, the arches, the stone floor and steps, stained with damp, and the planks of wood strewn on the ground, all seemed to stand out in bold relief, so solidly as not to admit a doubt of their substantiality, whilst the floor extended to the distant pillars, temptingly inviting the tread of exploring footsteps. Few could be persuaded that what they saw was a mere painting on a flat surface. The impression was strengthened by perceiving the light and shadows change, as if clouds were passing over the sun, the rays of which occasionally shone through the painted windows, casting coloured shadows on the floor. Then shortly the lightness would disappear and the former gloom again obscure the objects that had been momentarily illumined. The illusion was rendered more perfect by the sensitive condition of the eye in the darkness of the surrounding chamber.” “
 Sir Humphrey Davy, 1801/2 from: The History of the Discovery of Cinematography

This week, invigilate at the City:Assembled Exhibition, read up on Panoramaic Painting (look at the panoramas in Thun, Panorama Mesdag,  Panoramania exhibitionMoving panoramas, Daguerre's dioramas, Cycloramas etc.

Read Chapter 2 'City Images and Representational Forms' in the Introduction to M. Christine Boyer's book: "The City of Collective Memory". (The google books preview shows most of this, or it is available in the UCD library).

Also, look at some contemporary ways the city is being visualised - we mentioned Magyar - have a look at his work (and here's a link to a talk on how he made the Stainless film) and see if you can find some other relevant contemporary work. Bring links to it with you next week.

We will meet next Wednesday 4th Feb in Hugh's office at 11am-1pm to discuss all of this with you.

Adam Magyar - Stainless, Alexanderplatz (excerpt), 2011 from Adam Magyar on Vimeo.