Capturing Life: Zoological Gardens and the Emergence of Cinema Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Nolan, William
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Zoological Gardens contributed the representation of animal life unfolding in time to the study of the natural world in the nineteenth century. The emergence of cinema made a remarkably similar contribution to human representation; much of the Lumiere and Edison catalogs of early cinema, often called actualités, featured seemingly unstaged durations of human and animal life. Carefully framed, both the zoo and the cinema privileged the any-instant-whatever even as they attempted to corral it into archivable human signification. Moreover, just as the desire to see animals better guides the arrival of zoological gardens in the west, so too is the animal deeply involved in the arrival of the cinematic apparatus. Focusing on nineteenth century zoos, their evolution and cultural contexts, protocinematic technologies, and finally the appearance of the cinematic apparatus, Capturing Life centers its comparison of zoos and cinema on their involvement of animals and their offer to reinvigorate human representation with animal life.
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  • Downing, Eric
  • Open access

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