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The Platform Lab presents: A Conversation On Everyday Movies: Portable Projectors & American Culture

When: Friday, April 2nd @ 4-6pm EDT

This event celebrates the publication of Everyday Movies with a discussion between the author Prof. Haidee Wasson, Prof. Marsha Gordon (North Carolina State University) and Prof. Rick Prelinger (UC Santa Cruz).

Everyday Movies documents the twentieth-century rise of portable film projectors. It demonstrates that since World War II, the vast majority of movie-watching did not happen in the glow of the large screen but rather took place alongside the glitches, distortions, and clickety-clack of small machines that transformed home, classroom, museum, community, government, industrial, and military venues into sites of moving-image display. Reorienting the history of cinema away from the magic of the movie theater, Haidee Wasson illustrates the remarkable persistence and proliferation of devices that fundamentally rejected the sleek, highly professionalized film show. She foregrounds instead another kind of apparatus, one that was accessible, affordable, adaptable, easy to use, and crucially, programmable. Revealing rich archival discoveries, this book charts a compelling and original history of film that brings to light new technologies and diverse forms of media engagement that continue to shape contemporary life.

Haidee Wasson is Professor of Film and Media at Concordia University, Montreal. She is author of the award-winning Museum Movies and co-editor of several books, including Useful Cinema and Cinema's Military Industrial Complex.

Rick Prelinger is an archivist, filmmaker, writer and educator. He began collecting "ephemeral films" (films made for specific purposes at specific times, such as advertising, educational and industrial films) in 1983. His collection of 60,000 films was acquired by Library of Congress in 2002. Beginning in 2000, he partnered with Internet Archive to make a subset of the Prelinger Collection (now over 8,500 films) available online for free viewing, downloading and reuse. His archival feature Panorama Ephemera (2004) played in venues around the world, and his feature project No More Road Trips? received a Creative Capital grant in 2012. His 26 Lost Landscapes participatory urban history projects have played to many thousands of viewers in San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere. He is a board member of Internet Archive and frequently writes and speaks on the future of archives. With Megan Prelinger, he co-founded Prelinger Library in 2004. He is currently Chair and Professor of Film & Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz.

Marsha Gordon is Director of Film Studies at North Carolina State University. She is the author of Film is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller’s War Movies and Hollywood Ambitions: Celebrity in the Movie Age, and the co-editor of Learning with the Lights Off: A Reader in Educational Film and Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film. She is the former editor of The Moving Image journal, and she co-founded Home Movie Day Raleigh and the infamous Bastard Film Encounter. She has co-directed three short documentaries: Nesting (2020), about a bird’s nest and historical small-town American newspapers; All the Possibilities... (2019), about a single, extraordinary painting by Vernon Pratt; and Rendered Small (2017), about a unique collection of American Folk Art Buildings.

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