Not a Betting Man: Stanford, Muybridge, and the Palo Alto Wager Myth

In the 1870s, Leland Stanford allegedly wagered $25,000 to prove the theory that all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground when it travels at a gallop. While the anecdote is largely considered to be untrue, the wager has been repeatedly refuted across close to a century of writing on Stanford and Eadweard Muybridge’s role in the development of motion pictures. In examining the disavowal of the wager myth, this article argues the refutations illustrate contradictions between science and representation that remain central to the history of motion-picture technology.

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Project Muse

Of Love and Longing: Queer Nostalgia in Carol (2015)

This article discusses nostalgia and sensation in Carol (Haynes, 2015), a
contemporary melodrama about a lesbian romance in the 1950s. While Carol returns its romance to a closeted past, it presents a nostalgic view of queer desire that is neither wistful nor tragic. Drawing on Tamara de Szegheo Lang’s theory of critical nostalgia and Elizabeth Freeman’s theory of longing, this article argues that Carol’s nostalgic form, particularly its use of framing, texture and colour, unsettles linear experiences of time associated with looking at the past. Carol’s conspicuous formalism intertwines the phenomena and immediacy of temporal experience with the multiple experiences of historical desire, and the film’s aesthetics productively complicate its compliance with a larger narrative of linear progress. The interaction of framing, texture and colour in Carol engage ways of seeing that are critically full, rather than indulgently melancholic, of female desire in the 1950s.

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(Post)Production: Classifications and Infrastructures of Digital Visual Effects

This article historicizes the categorization of post-production work, specifically that of visual effects, as technical processes and “post” production in large-scale cinema production. It analyzes 1980s deregulations and the successive vertical integration strategies performed by studios to increase their control over distribution. The economic model of the contemporary blockbuster built upon concentrated studio control to redistribute the production of spectacle away from high-cost “creative” labor and into an expansive infrastructure of visual effects production that was more easily controllable and exploitable for central profit. An examination of visual effects classifications in the recent criticism on blockbusters by Kristen Whissel and Sean Cubitt will suggest that while visual effects function as primary components of textual design, we need to reconfigure how we describe this central component of filmmaking to shift the interests of its underlying infrastructure away from systemic profit and back to the human worker.

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