Devices of Wonder by Barbara Stafford
From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen

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An inquiry into emergent media's rich lineage, Devices of Wonder explores the artful machines humans have used to augment visual perception.
The encyclopedic cabinet of curiosities serves as a model for this study of the archaic instruments lurking in state-of-the art technology. Featured in Devices of Wonder are android automata, lunar landscapes, perspective theaters, vues d'optique, microscopes, magnetic games, magic lanterns, camera obscuras, boxes by Joseph Cornell, Lucas Samaras's Mirrored Room, Suzanne Anker's Zoosemiotics, Mark Tilden's UniBug 3.1, panoramic works by Jeff Wall and Giovanni Lusieri, paintings by Jean-Baptiste Chardin and Joseph Wright of Derby, projections by Diana Thater and James Turrell, and a pop-up book by Kara Walker.
Barbara Stafford's introduction weaves these fascinating artifacts into a provocative narrative analyzing the complex links between old and new media. Her wide-ranging investigation is complemented by thirty-one short essays in which Frances Terpak tracks the often surprising connections among individual items. Like the cabinet of curiosities, Devices of Wonder functions as an analogical instrument, reframing the beautiful "eye machines" that continue to mediate our encounters with the world.
This book is published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Getty Museum from November 13, 2001, through February 6, 2002.

About Barbara Stafford

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Barbara Maria Stafford is William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Frances Terpak is curator of photographs at the Getty Research Institute. Isotta Poggi is research associate at the Getty Research Institute.
Published December 6, 2001 by Getty Research Institute. 400 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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(It was later proved a sham.) Or the 18th- and 19th-century "panoramas," immense paintings that surrounded the viewer in three dimensions (in 1794, one naval panorama was so overwhelming that the Queen of England claimed it made her seasick).

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London Review of Books

Projects for artificial human bodies were in the air at the time (Meditations was published in 1641) and the idea of a pottery body would not have seemed terribly far-fetched to Descartes and his mathematically-minded friends.

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