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Zofia Trafas

MA work

Dissertation: Designed for Impact: Technology and Sites of Spectatorship 1950–70

New viewing technologies after 1945 not only changed the way in which the world could be seen; they also changed the experience of seeing itself. By examining widescreen cinema spectacle and 360-degree film pavilions at post-war world fairs, panoramic, revolving restaurants and viewing platforms in telecommunication towers and wraparound ‘expanded cinema’ installations by experimental media artists in the US in the late 1960s, this dissertation explores the divergent settings and different ways in which technology transformed spectatorship in the period.

Cinema, panoramas and towers were, of course, not new. What marks this period as one of innovation were the ways in which these spectatorial environments – through design and promotional rhetoric – actively sought to establish new physical and conceptual relationships between the visitor’s body and the technology on display. As a specific design concern, the act of viewing was given a new kind of experiential, participatory and performative logic.

Based on primary research in the Cinerama Corporation Collection, the New York World’s Fair 1964–65 Corporation Records and the BT Archives, this dissertation shows how these hybrid sites were shaped by a complex web of actors and interests representing the entertainment industry, corporations, government, inventors, world’s fair planners, counter-cultural artist–engineers and the latest thinking in science.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2010

  • Dissertation: Designed for Impact: Technology and Sites of Spectatorship 1950–70

    New viewing technologies after 1945 not only changed the way in which the world could be seen; they also changed the experience of seeing itself. By examining widescreen cinema spectacle and 360-degree film pavilions at post-war world fairs, panoramic, revolving restaurants and viewing platforms in telecommunication towers and wraparound ‘expanded cinema’ installations by experimental media artists in the US in the late 1960s, this dissertation explores the divergent settings and different ways in which technology transformed spectatorship in the period.

    Cinema, panoramas and towers were, of course, not new. What marks this period as one of innovation were the ways in which these spectatorial environments – through design and promotional rhetoric – actively sought to establish new physical and conceptual relationships between the visitor’s body and the technology on display. As a specific design concern, the act of viewing was given a new kind of experiential, participatory and performative logic.

    Based on primary research in the Cinerama Corporation Collection, the New York World’s Fair 1964–65 Corporation Records and the BT Archives, this dissertation shows how these hybrid sites were shaped by a complex web of actors and interests representing the entertainment industry, corporations, government, inventors, world’s fair planners, counter-cultural artist–engineers and the latest thinking in science.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons), History of Art, University of Cambridge, 2008; Exchange programme, Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, New York
  • Experience

  • Photography Department internship, Christie's, London, 2007; Education/Publicity Department internship, National Musuem in Cracow, Cracow, Poland, 2006; Temporary administrative assistant (Events Department), Sotheby's, London, 2008
  • Awards

  • Basil Taylor Travel Grant Award, 2009