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The Optical Vacuum – Spectatorship and Modernized American Theater Architecture - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Optical Vacuum: Spectatorship and Modernized American Theater Architecture

Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece


Between the 1920s and the 1960s, American mainstream cinematic architecture underwent a seismic shift. From the massive urban movie palace to the intimate streamlined theater, movie theaters became “neutralized” spaces for calibrated, immersive watching. Leading this charge was New York architect Benjamin Schlanger, a fiery polemicist whose designs and essays reshaped how movies were watched. This book examines the impact of Schlanger’s work in the context of changing patterns of spectatorship; his theaters and writing propose that the essence of film viewing lies not only in the text, but in ... More

Keywords: Ben Schlanger, movie theater, film, architecture, exhibition, spectatorship, neutral, cinephilia, immersion, apparatus

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190689353
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190689353.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece, author
Assistant Professor, Department of English/Film Studies Program, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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