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Cinerama (Waller, Fred), 1950

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interdependent and synergetic relationship between art, science and technology. The ultimate synthesis of all art genres, which he believed was imminent, would culminate in the utopia of «stereokino,» stereoscopic cinema, which was at the same time the expression of an ages-old, deeply human urge to create images. Then the image, experienced in «real three-dimensionality»—he did not provide any technical details—would «pour» from the screen into the auditorium. Further, stereo sound would be «absolutely essential.» It would enable the film director to «capture» the audience and the audience to «immerse themselves completely in the powerful sound.»[17] The images of stereoscopic film would attain a potential for three-dimensionality and movement never seen before; so powerful that they would wrench the audience psychologically out of their actual surroundings and into those of the film—all in the cause of Socialism under Stalin.

With the history of immersion, it is not my intention to propose any kind of extended durability for it or to provide art historical legitimization for virtual reality; rather, I wish to demonstrate the recurring existence of the figure of immersion in intermedia together with


its problematic potential and intentions. It is certainly inadmissible to ascribe an inner logic of development to the history of immersive image spaces, which, in small, successive steps that follow each other rapidly ultimately leads to the virtual reality of the computer. Rather, we are dealing with many and diverse individual stages, often contradictory and disparate, that represent and initiate a new status for perception. Almost at the same time as Eisenstein was developing his visions of future cinema, Fred Waller's «Cinerama» made its appearance in the USA. Similar to today's IMAX cinemas, in the 1950s it provided around one hundred cinemas across the world with three-dimensional image worlds, many of them ultra-fast moving ones.[18]

Further, the history of the World's Fairs—as yet unwritten—abounds with attempts to surround visitors with utopian worlds of images. Paris 1900 introduced the new «Cinerama,» which enclosed visitors in a panorama of film pictures so that they ‹went up› in a hot-air balloon from the Champ de Mars, and exhibited many propagandistic panoramas of French colonies. The «Futurama» in New York in 1939 presented the U.S. car industry's image vision of the totally

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