Joel Zika Creative practice as research in new media:

‘The translation of cinematic scene into spatial experience’: The history of the thematic ride as a unique model for new media and cinematic installation.

This research paper examines the reconfiguring and re imagining of the cinematic scene into physical experience. Practice based research leading to the development of studio works which engage the iconography and atmospheres of cinema in new spatial contexts.

Historical research examines the origins of popular cinema; the period between the Lumière brothers’s Cinématographe in 1894 and the first feature film in 1906. This is an era important to the new media discourse in which this research and studio practice finds its context. Cinema at this time had a strong relationship with the amusement park, the fairground and exposition. Illusionistic cinematic devices bore great resemblance to the carnivalesque sideshows which had existed for centuries prior. The aesthetic content of these scientific spectacles can be attributed to defining the popular ‘look’ and dark thematics of early film. This can be seen in the ghostly apparitions of the Phantasmagoria in theatres and the use of the Peppers Ghost in haunting Cabaret.

As well as detailing studio practice by Zika, this paper will examine field research undertaken to a range of historic sites throughout 2007. Through documentation and experience of more than 20 examples of the earliest immersive popular entertainments (from the period 1906-1940) it was possible to see the effects of spatial design on the way one reads a narrative.

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