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Exhibiting Disasters: Mediation, historicity and spectatorship
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science and Technology.
2012 (English)In: Media Culture and Society, ISSN 0163-4437, E-ISSN 1460-3675, Vol. 34, no 4, 472-487 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this article is to draw attention to a long-standing history of exhibiting disasters to distant audiences. In particular, the article explores the transregional imaginaries and cross-temporal connections that emerge from the history of what may be labelled the disaster display or disaster show. This refers to a particular genre of multimedia re-enactments of extreme events that developed in the context of temporary exhibitions and popular amusements in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Disaster displays typically involved visual representations, sound effects, fireworks, lectures and theatrical performances, and invited their audiences to experience a diversity of extreme events, for example distant wars, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, fire fighting and floods. In offering a blend of special effects and the thrills of authenticity, disaster shows copied and competed with, and sometimes incorporated, some of the traits of a variety of attractions in turn-of-the-century popular visual culture, such as serialized wax displays, moving panoramas and early film. The article especially investigates some of these intermedialities but it also discusses how the displays engaged and positioned the audience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Sage Publications, 2012. Vol. 34, no 4, 472-487 p.
Keyword [en]
disasters, exhibitions, heritage of risk, historicity, mediation, spectatorship
National Category
Media Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-59754DOI: 10.1177/0163443711436359ISI: 000304663200006ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84861769901OAI: diva2:476196
Utställda publiker: Medieringar av publik och allmänhet i Sverige, 1866-1930
Swedish Research Council, 421-2007-2231
QC 20120625Available from: 2012-01-11 Created: 2012-01-11 Last updated: 2012-06-25Bibliographically approved

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