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Secular Magic and the Moving Image: Mediated Forms and Modes of Reception
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Secular Magic and the Moving Image: Mediated Forms and Modes of Reception (Hardback)

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Synopsis

The power of the moving image to conjure marvelous worlds has usually been to understand it in terms of `move magic'. On film, a fascination for enchantment and wonder has transmuted older beliefs in the supernatural into secular attractions. But this study is not about the history of special effects or a history of magic. Rather, it attempts to determine the influence and status of secular magic on television within complex modes of delivery before discovering interstices with film. Historically, the overriding concern on television has been for secular magic that informs and empowers rather than a fairytale effect that deceives and mystifies. Yet, shifting notions of the real and the uncertainty associated with the contemporary world has led to television developing many different modes that have become capable of constant hybridization. The dynamic interplay between certainty and indeterminacy is the key to understanding secular magic on television and film and exploring the interstices between them. Sexton ranges from the real-time magic of street performers, such as David Blaine, Criss Angel, and Dynamo, to Penn and Teller's comedy magic, to the hypnotic acts of Derren Brown, before finally visiting the 2006 films The Illusionist and The Prestige. Each example charts how the lack of clear distinctions between reality and illusion in modes of representation and presentation disrupt older theoretical oppositions. Secular Magic and the Moving Image not only re-evaluates questions about modes and styles but raises further questions about entertainment and how the relations between the program maker and the audience resemble those between the conjuror and spectator. By re-thinking these overlapping practices and tensions and the marking of the indeterminacy of reality on media screens, it becomes possible to revise our understanding of inter-medial relations.

Film, TV & DramaFilms, cinemaFilm theory & criticismFilm, TV & DramaTelevisionPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesMedia Studies Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc Publication Date: 14/12/2017 ISBN-13: 9781501320934  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Max Sexton is a lecturer at the University of Surrey, where he currently teaches film and television theory, and an independent scholar. After working in British television, he completed an MA History of Film and Visual Media and a PhD. He is currently interested in the links between aesthetics and technology, the de-stabilization of genre and inter-medial areas between film and television, including debates about the use of live performance and special effects. He co-authored Adapting Science Fiction to Television: Small Screen, Expanded Universe (2015) with Malcolm Cook.

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