"Artificial Darkness is a book about cinema. It is not about film or even about projectors. It defines the cinematic as per its title, a dispositif of darkness that allows for transformation. . . . Elcott shows how art can turn technics to its advantage, by making room for play at the very heart of technics."--Quentin Bajac, Museum of Modern Art "Necsus""'This century belongs to the light, ' exclaims Lazslo Moholy-Nagy in 1927 a propos photography and cinema, echoing other avant-garde artists from Frederick Kiesler to the Lumiere brothers. Artificial Darkness shows that the inverse is also true, namely, that the age of light also belongs to darkness, and that, by delving into one, one finds oneself inexorably in the other."--Quentin Bajac, Museum of Modern Art "Les Cahiers du Musee National d'Art Moderne""Breaking down the barriers between disciplines and mediums, Artificial Darkness constructs and questions an object that had never really been detected before: modern controlled darkness. Spanning photography, cinema, theater, and entertainment, this is a deep read and highly enlightening transdisciplinary journey into early modernist artistic practices."--Quentin Bajac, Museum of Modern Art "Millennium Film Journal""Elcott tells the story of what must remain invisible so that the optical and acoustic arts of modernity can exist. Artificial Darkness provides us with thrilling insights about the dark side of media history, demonstrating that images and sounds in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were not related to formlessness as nothingness, but rather to darkness as technical form. From the moment you begin reading, you know that this is the book we have always needed. An astonishing expedition by an author whose scholarship and perspicacity offer unequaled opportunities, Artificial Darkness reveals the common background of modern art and media history."--Bernhard Siegert, Bauhaus-Universitat Weimar "Film Comment""Elcott's book is essential reading for scholars of film and modernism, particularly those tired of essentialist or medium-specific discourses. Its beautiful illustrations, so well suited to black-and-white reproduction, appear as revelations of a forgotten and seductive past...Artificial Darkness argues compellingly for a suppressed history of the importance of darkness in its earliest days and points to its covert presence in our future."--Quentin Bajac, Museum of Modern Art "CAA Reviews""Groundbreaking and revisionist. . . . Artificial Darkness will be essential reading. . . Elcott's study should speak to those who consider photography or film's shadows and dark spaces in whatever period; to those who consider how bodies occupy, and are perceived to occupy, space; and indeed, to all scholars of the interplay between the visible and the invisible in visual culture."--Quentin Bajac, Museum of Modern Art "Critical Inquiry""In Artificial Darkness Elcott delivers further inspiration to those experimentalists interested in early cinema as he adds new marvels to the canon beyond the magic lantern performances of the Phantasmagoria and the shadow plays performed at Le Chat Noir. To this reader's delight, the author also reveals the curious fact that occasionally shadows were even antithetical to certain early filmmaking techniques."--Tom Gunning, University of Chicago "Millennium Film Journal""Theoretically astute, historically rigorous, and visually precise, Artificial Darkness sets a standard for film and media scholarship while also making extremely significant and original contributions to fields such as art history, the history of science, and theater studies. Elcott's research is subtle and meticulous, and his ability to embed and web his vast and complex archival discoveries into a swiftly moving and lucid narrative is truly impressive. This is a model of interdisciplinary work."--Karen Beckman, University of Pennsylvania "Film Comment"