Atlantic crossings: Exhibiting Scandinavian-American relations in scale models and moving pictures during the mid-1910s
2012 (English)In: Early Popular Visual Culture, ISSN 1746-0654, Vol. 10, no 4, 345-366 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Among the many endeavours of visualization that took place in fairs and expositions at the time of early cinema, one medium warrants closer attention than it has hitherto received: the scale model. Well suited to pedagogical ideals of overview and visual compression, the model may shed light on the specifically three-dimensional branch of exhibitory items, particularly in instances when it was used in conjunction with moving pictures. Chiefly on the basis of contemporary press sources, this essay explores two occurrences of smaller-scale farm models that were used in exhibitions in a context of multiple other media, including cinema. These instances of model culture reflect two very different aspects of Scandinavian–American relations during the mid-teens: on the one hand, a Swedish government-funded organization used the 1915 Panama–Pacific Exposition for political purposes, attempting to convince Swedish Americans to go back to Sweden and build their own small farms; on the other, a Norwegian official exposition in 1914 instead celebrated the success of Norwegian-American settlers. The essay investigates how the specific uses of the assembled media in each case articulate these aims and refract the more abstract political ideals behind them. It argues that in the media discourse surrounding these cases, the scale model was overwhelmingly favoured, at this point outshining the cinema as a perceived beacon of scientific exactitude and intuitive meaning. Perhaps for this very reason, the miniature in particular seems to have been allowed to invite affective relations with the spectator.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 10, no 4, 345-366 p.
scale model, cinema, fair, exposition, intermediality, migration, Scandinavian American
Studies on Film
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82594DOI: 10.1080/17460654.2012.724566ISI: 000310849300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-82594DiVA: diva2:570564