Posts Tagged ‘ digital media ’

An Intro to Cosmic Zoom Media: A Watchlist from Zachary Horton

July 13, 2021

Negotiating differences in scale can be, to say the least, a complex undertaking—from the minuscule and microscopic to the vastness of human populations to the magnificent size of the space beyond our home planet. In his book The Cosmic Zoom: Scale, Knowledge, and Mediation, Zachary Horton considers the “cosmic zoom,” a trope that has influenced media forms for decades, and he uses this as a starting point to develop a cross-disciplinary theory of scale. Here, he gives us an intro to cosmic zoom media through a watchlist of seven films. The cosmic zoom, a media form that aestheticizes continuity across a wide range of scales, is ubiquitous today. It is used to evoke wonder at the cosmos, celebrate scientific knowledge and practice, render radically alien scales accessible to humans, paper over differences between scales, and re-center the human observer in physical and medial environments that seem to be slipping (scaling) out of our control.  Though cosmic zooms are not always visual, their most mesmeric versions have often been in time-based media. Here are seven cosmic zooms that exemplify the form: Eva Szasz, Cosmic Zoom, 1968 Canadian artist Eva Szasz adapted Dutch educator Kees Boeke’s 1957 book, Cosmic View, into this . . .

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