"Inventing Cinema is meticulously researched, with particular success in focusing on important but neglected aspects of visual technologies." - Stephen Herbert, Journal of Film Preservation, 102, April 2020
"Turquety’s study of the invention of the cinema superbly unpacks the overwhelming impact of the "birth of the cinema" on academia, aesthetics, and both high and popular culture. It is a must-read for all in the fields of history of cinema, technology, and media." - Annie van den Oever (University of Groningen)
"Benoît Turquety’s book on the invention of the cinema manages to provide an overview of the way cinema came into the world that is precise in its historical detail and deep in its theoretical considerations. This is the finest single work on the invention of cinema I have yet read." - Tom Gunning (University of Chicago)
With machines mediating most of our cultural practices, and innovations, obsolescence and revivals constantly transforming our relation with images and sounds, media feel more unstable than ever. But was there ever a ‘stable’ moment in media history? Inventing Cinema proposes to approach this question through an archaeology and epistemology of media machines. The archaeology analyses them as archives of users’ gestures, as well as of modes of perception. The epistemology reconstructs the problems that the machines’ designers and users have strived to solve, and the network of concepts they have elaborated to understand these problems. Drawing on the philosophy of technology and anthropology, Inventing Cinema argues that networks of gestures, problems, perception and concepts are inscribed in vision machines, from the camera obscura to the stereoscope, the Cinématographe, and digital cinema. The invention of cinema is ultimately seen as an ongoing process irreducible to a single moment in history.
Benoît Turquety is a professor in the film department at the University of Lausanne and director of the SNF research project on Bolex and amateur cinema. He is a founding member of the Material Archival Studies Network, and a member of the Dispositives research group, of the Network for Experimental Media Archaeology, and the Technology and the Humanities project.