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Peter Kuras

Department of German
pkuras@princeton.edu

How and why does a new media make the transition from a "cool" new technology to an artistic or cultural form capable of making real contributions to the aesthetic and intellectual landscape of a specific society? Peter Kuras's research examines early cinema to help inform a reading of the webcam. In the early years of its development, cinema was seen not as an important form of expression, but as a technological novelty suited only to the lowest kind of entertainment. Similarly, the webcam is today often viewed simply as a means of communication or as a vehicle of pornography, rarely is it seen as being a possible medium for the expression of sophisticated and important artistic ideas. The use of cinema as a historical model will allow me to revise these shortcomings in commonplace readings of the webcam specifically and of new media generally. (2008)

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