This publication explores the pioneering role of 19th century photographer
Eadweard Muybridge in the development of moving-image
projection. The study also maps the exceptional influence of his
experiments on contemporary world's visual form.
Eadweard Muybridge is among the seminal originators of the
contemporary world's visual form, with its concentrated image-sequences of
bodies in movement and its ocular obsessions. This book examines an almost
unknown dimension of Muybridge's work, as a moving-image projectionist,
who toured Europe's cities to enthral beyond-capacity audiences with
unprecedented projections and who built a moving-image auditorium—long
before cinemas were created—in which to project his work at the 1893
Chicago World's Columbian Exposition. That final invention of
Muybridge's was both an all-engulfing catastrophe and the vital precursor
for the following century's worldwide manias for projection. Based on
entirely new research into Muybridge's travels
, audiences, auditoria and
projectors, this book explores his initiating role in moving-image
projection and also maps Muybridge's driving inspiration for subsequent
artists and filmmakers preoccupied with the volatile entity of projection,
from 1890s Berlin to contemporary Japan
, via further spectacular World's
Exposition events and cinemas' overheated projection-boxes.
The book looks closely at the enigmatic figure of the moving-image
projectionist, from its origins in Muybridge's experiments, across glass,
celluloid and digital projections, to the contemporary moment.
Moving-image projection formed a crucial determinant in the imagining of
new corporealities and new urban spaces, through its irrepressible
capacity to envision future bodies and cities. The cinema projectionist—a
solitary figure of compulsion and restlessness, inhabiting a profession
touched with the multiple addictions and deaths of the moving image—was
once a pivotal presence for global cinema audiences but is now consigned
The book investigates contemporary urban projections as aberrant
manifestations derived from Muybridge's first conjurations of projection's
power for its spectators. Throughout, the book interrogates the strange
figure of the projectionist, embodied first of all by Muybridge himself.
will attract and fascinate all lovers of
cinemas, photography and moving-image cultures.
Stephen Barber is a British writer, novelist, and professor at Kingston University. He has received several awards for his books, which have been translated into many languages, such as Japanese and Chinese. The Independent newspaper (London) once called him “the most dangerous man in Europe.”