This chapter traces the lineage of moving-image installation through film history. A brief journey through the history of film reveals many elements that might well have been cast off in the digital age but instead prevailed and resurfaced, refreshed in the work of contemporary artists, especially when taking the form of moving-image installation. This chapter first charts the history of film, with particular emphasis on the origins of the world of illusions that began deep in human history with shadow plays and puppetry, along with the camera obscura and magic lanterns. It then considers how the science of optics has successfully re-animated the hallucinatory world of the paranormal, both at the dawn of cinema and in the analogue phase of film and video. We see in these works an enduring fascination with the moving image and its ability to transport the viewer into another reality or the “power to take perception elsewhere.” The chapter also looks at the rise of magic shows and vision machines, along with the evolution of mainstream narrative film, European art cinema, abstract film, and Russian montage.
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