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 an 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, director of the SNF research project on Bolex and amateur cinema, and of the EPIMETE/digital media epistemology research axis. Educated as a film technician at the Louis-Lumière National Cinema Engineering School, he received a PhD from the University Paris 8 in 2005. He is a founding member of the Material Archival Studies Network, and part of the Dispositives research group, of the Network for Experimental Media Archaeology, as well as the Technology and the Humanities project. Among other projects, he published Danièle Huillet et Jean-Marie Straub, "objectivistes" en cinéma in 2009, and co-edited a collection on amateur cinema in 2017. He is preparing a book on the technology and geography of past and contemporary media circulations.