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Lecture “Animating the 19th Century”

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“Animating the 19th Century: Bringing Pictures to Life (Or Life to Pictures?)”
Speaker: Tom Gunning, the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of Cinema & Media Studies, the University of Chicago.

The invention of movies came about as the 19th century was ending and the 20th century was beginning. Although many viewers saw the advent of cinema as the culmination of Realist movements in the visual arts that had marked the 19th century, others experienced it as an unsettling shift from traditional canons of beauty to the "tender mercies" of the machine.

In this lecture, film historian Tom Gunning explores the revolutionary energy of the moving image and its power to transform notions of representation through the introduction of motion, vitality, and the mechanical into the domain of the picture. Did pictures survive? Or were they altered irreparably?

Presented in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference hosted by the University of Houston (March 27–30).