From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen
Barbara Maria Stafford and Frances Terpak
With an object list by Isotta Poggi
Getty Research Institute
416 pages, 7 x 10 inches
79 color and 75 b/w illustrations, 4 tritones, 1 line drawing
"A packed wunderkammer of a catalogue, enclosing every kind of ingenious picturing instrument, from magic lanterns to dioramas to anamorphic perspective boxes to flicker books."
The Independent (London)
An inquiry into emergent media's rich lineage, Devices of Wonder explores the artful machines humans have used to augment visual perception.
The encyclopedic cabinet of curiosities serves as a model for this study of the archaic instruments lurking in state-of-the art technology. Featured in Devices of Wonder are android automata, lunar landscapes, perspective theaters, vues d'optique, microscopes, magnetic games, magic lanterns, camera obscuras, boxes by Joseph Cornell, Lucas Samaras's Mirrored Room, Suzanne Anker's Zoosemiotics, Mark Tilden's UniBug 3.1, panoramic works by Jeff Wall and Giovanni Lusieri, paintings by Jean-Baptiste Chardin and Joseph Wright of Derby, projections by Diana Thater and James Turrell, and a pop-up book by Kara Walker.
Barbara Stafford's introduction weaves these fascinating artifacts into a provocative narrative analyzing the complex links between old and new media. Her wide-ranging investigation is complemented by thirty-one short essays in which Frances Terpak tracks the often surprising connections among individual items. Like the cabinet of curiosities, Devices of Wonder functions as an analogical instrument, reframing the beautiful "eye machines" that continue to mediate our encounters with the world.
This book was published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Getty during the winter 2001-2002.
Barbara Maria Stafford is William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Frances Terpak is curator of photographs at the Getty Research Institute. Isotta Poggi is research associate at the Getty Research Institute.