Maréorama Resurrected: An Illustrated Lecture by Erkki Huhtamo

Maréorama Resurrected: An Illustrated Lecture by Erkki Huhtamo was performed on October 22, 2011 as a part of Art && Code 3D: DIY 3D Sensing and Visualization, presented by the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.

Performed throughout the 1800s, moving panoramas were among the most popular entertainment forms of the 19th century. In this poetic lecture-demonstration, scholar and media archeologist Dr. Erkki Huhtamo draws on his research into moving panoramas and dioramas to discuss various historical apparata that laid the groundwork for 20th and 21st century immersive applications—including those created now by game designers and new-media artists.
The particular focus of this unique presentation is the Maréorama, a huge multi-sensory spectacle created by Hugo d’Alesi and his team for the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris. Working from high-resolution scans and the original piano music composed for the Maréorama by Henri Kowalski, Huhtamo reconstructs several sequences from this simulated sea voyage on the Mediterranean. The performance features live piano accompaniment by Stephen L. I. Murphy.

Professor Erkki Huhtamo is a media archaeologist, writer and exhibition curator. At the UCLA Department of Design & Media Arts his area is media history and theory. Dr. Huhtamo is a leading practitioner of “media archaeology”, an emerging critical approach he has helped developed since the early 1990′s. It excavates forgotten, neglected and suppressed media-cultural phenomena, helping us to penetrate beyond canonized accounts about media culture. In recent years, Professor Huhtamo has applied this approach to phenomena like peep media, the notion of the screen, games and mobile media. His most recent books are “Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications” (co-edited with Jussi Parikka, University of California Press, 2011) and a forthcoming monograph titled “Illusions in Motion: a Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles”.

Dr. Huhtamo maintains one of the world’s most extensive collections of antique optical viewing devices, such as magic lanterns, peep show boxes, camera obscuras, praxinoscopes, and kinoramas, which form primary resources for his research, pedagogy, and performance work.