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Aeroscopics: Spectacles of the Bird’s-Eye View

  • Author(s): Ellis, Patrick
  • Advisor(s): Sandberg, Mark
  • et al.
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Abstract

The aerial view was widely democratized prior to commercial flight. This media archaeology details the practice of terrestrial aerial views presented as cartographic spectacles in the long nineteenth century. The project considers panorama paintings that reproduced the view from above; models of cities that served as proxies for a balloon view; observation rides that provided slow-moving, elevated vistas of cities; as well as the public’s first encounter with the airplane. Although these bird’s-eye art forms have largely been forgotten, this project resurrects these lacunae as “aeroscopics.” Aeroscopics fundamentally skew the epistemology of the cartographic: time slows, scale shifts, and what was a quality of observation becomes instead intoxication.

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This item is under embargo until November 7, 2021.