Early visual technologies and the transformation of space (Prof. Marcus Doel with Prof. David Clarke)

This project investigates the role played by late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century visual technologies in the ‘abstraction’ and ‘engineering’ of space and time. It covers a range of pre-cinematic visual technologies—such as the magic lantern, the phantasmagoria, the panorama, the diorama, and the stereoscope—and involves a re-theorization of the appearance of ‘animated photography’ (film) in the 1890s. Drawing on recent work on modernity, mobility, landscape, and urban culture, the significance of these technologies to the transformation of space and time is being pursued via archival research, which is set in relation to the growing body of literature on early film, pre-cinematic visual technologies, and the culture of modernity.

Hidden cities/screen memories (Prof. David Clarke)

Focusing chiefly but not exclusively on contemporary cinema, this work is concerned with exploring the meaning of the current obsession with memory and forgetting in relation to the urban environment. Films such as Christopher Nolan’s Memento and Patrick Keiller’s The City of the Future dramatize this preoccupation, and a range films and genres are ripe for analysis in this context. This research relates particularly to a current book project, Moving Pictures/Stopping Places, which focuses on hotels and motels in film. However, the significance of different spaces and places on screen represents a viable research topic beyond these specific foci.