handheld cinema

The Bill Douglas Museum at the University of Exeter has uploaded ‘Handheld cinema, or the other successful toys that move,’ Seth’s report on his recent study visit to their archive of twentieth- and twentieth century cinema toys. Studying toys and games marketed as models of, or merchandising for, mainstream cinema, he asks:

Could these toys be seen […] not as the evolutionary beginnings of cinema, nor as harbingers of future digital media, but rather as fully part of cinematic culture. Or, more ambitiously, how might our understanding of the emergence, development, and future of cinema be advanced if we regarded cinema itself as a subset of a toy culture rather than the other way around? If we picked up and ran with Iona Opie’s playful suggestion that cinema was merely ‘the most successful of the toys that move’: what other material, technical, imaginative and experiential dimensions of a para-cinematic genealogy of ‘toys that move’ might we find?

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