The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Archaeology of Cinema #4

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Kinetoscope
(William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson; 1894)

This paradigmatic Peep-Show device, developed by Dickson for the Thomas Edison Co. in 1894, was the first great American contribution to the mechanics of Motion Picture exhibition. An electrically driven apparatus, designed for use with images produced by Edison's Kinetograph, it allowed its viewers to stand with hands free . . . just as many millions stood decades later in arcades and adult bookstores the world over . . . and behold before their eyes the wonders of the moving image.


So successful was the Kinetoscope in its day that entire venues like Peter Bacigalupi's in San Francisco (pictured above as it was in 1895) made extraordinary amounts of money providing this new form of diversion to a public in its last unsuspecting moments before those very images enslaved their collective subconscious forever.

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