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Exhibiting disasters: Mediation, historicity and spectatorship
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm.
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 2th 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
2012. Vol. 34, no 4, 472-487 p.
National Category
Cultural Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78394DOI: 10.1177/0163443711436359OAI: diva2:532288
Available from: 2012-06-11 Created: 2012-06-11 Last updated: 2012-07-06

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Ekström, Anders
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