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"Constellations in the night sky": Mobile Media & the Landscapes of Cinemagoing
 

"Constellations in the night sky": Mobile Media & the Landscapes of Cinemagoing

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Presentation given at the International Screen Conference, Glasgow 2014 on how mobile heritage apps can bring the landscape of cinemagoing to life - using the example of the Lost Cinemas of Castle ...

Presentation given at the International Screen Conference, Glasgow 2014 on how mobile heritage apps can bring the landscape of cinemagoing to life - using the example of the Lost Cinemas of Castle Park app which features over 100 years of cinemagoing in Bristol City Centre from 1896 to the present day. The presentation argues that mobile location-based technology can raise awareness of the practice of moviegoing through different technological eras of cinema, as well as inform us about the recent history, culture and society. The presentation situates this micro history within the wider landscape of developments in new cinema history, audience research and cultural geography.

The video embedded in the powerpoint is the demo video used for publication on app store to demonstrate the location-based dimension of the app: https://vimeo.com/53189913

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    "Constellations in the night sky": Mobile Media & the Landscapes of Cinemagoing "Constellations in the night sky": Mobile Media & the Landscapes of Cinemagoing Presentation Transcript

    • “Constellations in the Night Sky”: Mobile Media and the Landscapes of Cinema-going Dr Charlotte Crofts (Digital Cultures Research Centre, UWE, Br charlotte.crofts@uwe.ac.uk @charlottecrofts
    • “Their names were like the constellations in the night sky, culled at random from Greek mythology, the ‘Orpheus’, the ‘Gamount’, the ‘Odeon’. Sometimes I wondered who picked these names, and why, but no one seemed to know. They had always seemed so timeless in their neon sky-writing, palaces of electricity and esoteric magic. Some people navigate their cities by churches, other by pubs. At an early age I learned to use the cinemas of Bristol as familiar landmarks in my explorations of the city. I still do, even in my dreams.” Ewan McLeod, Projectionist (Arnolfini, Bristol), Dream On: Bristol Writers on Cinema (1994).
    • Bristol Cinemas, 1896-present* Height of cinema-going 1938, 40 cinemas 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 1897 1899 1901 1903 1905 1907 1909 1911 1913 1915 1917 1919 1921 1923 1925 1927 1929 1931 1933 1935 1937 1939 1941 1943 1945 1947 1949 1951 1953 1955 1957 1959 1961 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 Number of Cinemas in Bristol *Total of c70 cinemas in lifetime of the city
    • Lost Cinemas of Castle Park • The Tivoli (built 1874-1956, 1st moving pictures 1896-1900, cinema 1912-16) • The Bio-Pictureland /Counterslip Chapel (built 1810, cinema 1908- 1918) • The Gem (built 1908, cinema 1909-1932) • The Queens Picture House (1910- 1933) • The Dolphin (1910-1922) • The Olympia, later The Tatler (1910-1963) • The Kings Hall (1910-1976) • The Castle Street Theatre (1911- 1926) • The Clare Street Picture House (1911-1927) • The People’s Palace / Gaumont (1892-present, cinema 1912-1980) • The Regent (1928-1940) • The Empire Theatre (1893-1963, cinema 1931-9) • The Bristol Hippodrome (1912- present, cinema 1932-38) • The News Theatre (1933-1956) • The Odeon (1938-present) • The Europa (1973-1987) • The Watershed (1982-present)
    • Lost Cinemas of Castle Park App
    • Lost Cinemas of Castle Park 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 1896 1901 1906 1911 1916 1921 1926 1931 1936 1941 1946 1951 1956 1961 1966 1971 1976 1982 1987 1992 1997 2002 2007 2012 NumberofCinemas Year Watershed 1982- Tivoli, 1896-1900, 1912-1916 Tatler, Olympia 1910-63 Regent 1928-40 Queen's Picture Hall 1910-33 People's Palace, Gaumont Baldwin St 1896, 1912-1980 Odeon, Unionn St 1938- News Theatre 1933-56 King's Hall 1911-76 Gem 1909-32 Europa 1973-87 Empire Theatre 1931-39 Dolphin 1910-1922 Clare Street Picture House 1911-27 Castle Street 1911-26 Bristol Hippodrome 1932-38 Bio Pictureland 1908-14
    • Lost Cinemas of Castle Park App • GPS triggers content in Auto mode • “Armchair” mode, tap points to get content • Link to What’s on in Bristol Cinemas • Ability to Tweet from within the app • Ambient cinema music as you walk round –only available in-situ • Name, date of cinema • Single image for each cinema • Simple play/pause/stop interface • Emphasis on audio • Cinema footprints indicated location • Narration, dramatisation, reenactment, limited oral history
    • Castle Street District C1920 c1940
    • Castle Park, then and now 2012 Ordinance Survey Map1900s Map Maps from Bristol City Council’s interactive GIS map, Know Your Place
    • Pre Cinematograph Act 1909 • The Tivoli musical hall (1874-1956: screenings 1896-1900; cinema 1912- 16) • 1st moving pictures June 1896 • Teddy Leon, a Mancunian showman (and dentist) • Now Marks and Spencers in Broadmead pedestrian shopping area
    • Kingdom of Shadows MAXIM GORKY “Last night I was in the kingdom of shadows, if you only knew how strange it is to be there. It’s a world without sound without color: everything there, the earth, the trees, the people, the water and the air is dipped in monotonous grey: grey rays of the sun across the grey sky, grey eyes in grey faces and the leaves of the trees are ashen grey, it is not life but its shadow, it is not motion but its soundless specter… It is terrible to see, this movement of shadows, nothing but shadows, the spectres, these phantoms…”
    • The Gem
    • Journey to the Gem BENJAMIN PRICE “On the way to the Gem on Broad Weir, Father took me through Cheese Lane and on to Tower Hill, where trams swirled down to the Ha’penny Bridge, all was magic. When we reached Castle Street, I was in a wonderland of lights and movement. Down Castle Ditch to the junction of Broad Weir, Narrow Weir and Philli-I-fi Street. This was the promised land, the electric lights of Old Market behind us, I was in the realm of ancient gas-lit shops and narrow alleys. We passed all the windows of fascinating shops, tea rooms, a chip shop, odd trades like furriers… “
    • Evoking sense of place • Aural dimension helps bring lost cinemas to life • Emphasis on audio allows real location to be the “screen” • “Dialectical montage” / frisson between physical location, media content and user interface. • Temporal / spatial oscillation between here/there, now/then, location/imagination
    • First purpose built cinemas
    • Wider topography of leisure • Fox’s, the pub on the left of the Queens Picture House on Peter St • Lake’s Oyster bar on the right, where there were no seats, just a bar where you stood and ate shellfish. • The Cat and Wheel was just round the corner, roughly opposite what is now the public toilets. • Next door was the Bear and Rugged Staff, both run by George & Co Brewery.
    • The Dolphin IVY MAY HILLER “I used to go the Kozy Korner Picture House. Wounded soldiers came in to watch films. I worked there selling chocolates. There was a young chap, Fred, a projectionist. Every Thursday Fred and I would walk to Temple Mead Station to send the reels of film to London and collect the new reels. Dad always waited for me around midnight” Also known as Pringles Picture Palace and Kozy Korner Kinema
    • Clare Street Picture House
    • Theatre conversions
    • Theatre conversions
    • Super Cinemas
    • The Regent
    • “Magic Moments” • Listening to history of the cinemas whilst standing near where they used to be is effective (and sometimes affective) • “Sweet spot” when the app interacts with location, anticipating what the user is likely to see / hear (Reid, J., Hull, R., Cater, K., Fleuriot, C. (2005),“Magic Moments in Situated Mediascapes” in ACM SIGCHI International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology).
    • Impact of WW2 • Castle Street obliterated by blitz, including the loss of The Regent • News Theatre hangs on until 1950s • Odeon survives bombing, still operating • Aspirations for redevelopment of the bombsite into civic centre never realised • New shopping area, Broadmead, developed to sate national shopping chains • 1970s turned into a park
    • The Age of the Car: Old Market, then and now Cinema “footprints" overlayed onto 1949 Map Today, cut off by underpass Kings Tatler Empire
    • Temple Way Underpass, c1968
    • Kings in decline; ceased operating in 1976, demolished 1982 Adult fare: Hot Dreams and Man Hungry
    • Shift from City Centre to Suburban 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 1897 1899 1901 1903 1905 1907 1909 1911 1913 1915 1917 1919 1921 1923 1925 1927 1929 1931 1933 1935 1937 1939 1941 1943 1945 1947 1949 1951 1953 1955 1957 1959 1961 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 Number of Cinemas in Bristol Height of cinemagoing in Bristol city centre, 1911-1915 Height of cinemagoing across whole city, 1938 City Centre Cinemas
    • Mapping Bristol City Centre Cinemas • Spatial visualisation of spaces of cinemagoing (Robert Allen, Jeffery Klenotic, John Caughie, Maria Valez-Serna) • Social production of space (Henri Le Febvre) • Mobilities (Mimi Sheller) – journeys of people and film prints • Shifting technologies (Apparatus Theory, Christian Metz, Jean-Louis Comoilli, Theresa de Lauretis), e.g. purpose-built cinemas / coming of sound • Politics of postwar redevelopment and car culture (Urban Sociology) • Class and shifting patterns of consumption (Annette Kuhn, Martin Barker) • Historical, spatial and digital turn within Film Studies (New Cinema History / HOMER: Daniel Bilteryest, Karel Dibbets, Richard Matlby, Deb Verhoeven, etc.) • Added value of experiencing this “on location” on mobile device….
    • CARY GRANT COMES HOME …FOR THE WEEKEND 11-12 OCTOBER, BRISTOLCary Grant is cited as “the best and most important actor in the history of cinema” by David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film), who will be speaking about Grant’s journey from Bristol-born Archie Leach to pan-Atlantic gentleman. Festival Gala double screening at The Bristol Hippodrome, the very theatre where young Archie worked as a lad and was inspired to become an actor – tickets available now! Confirmed speakers also include Mark Glancy (Queen Mary), Kathrina Gltire (UWE) and Andrew Spicer (UWE).