"Cinema, Trance and Cybernetics will change the way you see the cinema's past. Through an impressive synthesis of psychology, cybernetics, anthropology and the cinematic arts, it reveals how cinema was born in the scientific laboratory and grew into a machine for controlling, but also emancipating, mental life. Providing a powerful historical account that brings Maya Deren in contact with Vladimir Bekhterev, amongst others, the book shows how cinema ultimately came to shape us into its own image." - Pasi Valiaho, Goldsmiths, University of London
We've all had the experience of watching a film and feeling like we've been in a trance. This book takes that experience seriously, explaining cinema as a cultural technique of trance, one that unconsciously transforms our perceptions. Ute Holl moves from anthropological and experimental cinema through nineteenth-century psychological laboratories, which she shows developed techniques for testing, measuring, and classifying the mind that can be seen as a prehistory of cinema, one that allows us to see the links among cinema, anthropology, psychology, and cybernetics.
Ute Holl is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Research on history of cinema and perception, techniques of visualising and knowledge, history of electro-acoustics and radiophonics, anthropologic and experimental cinema. She is fellow of Forscherkolleg Bild-Evidenz, FU Berlin.