Kinoscope Parlour

2010 | Birds of Paradise

Aldwych | Bloomsbury | Becontree | Hackney | Kilburn | Lewisham | Southbank |
South Kensington | Upton Park | Walthamstow | Wapping | Wood Green

Co-curated by Marketa Uhlirova and Inga Fraser
The Kinoscope Parlour is a London-wide installation of six peephole machines at twelve different locations launching in the run-up to the festival. Designed by Mark Garside, the Kinoscope is a contemporary re-imagining of the kinetoscope invented by Thomas A. Edison and W.K.L. Dickson in the early 1890s. Often arranged in ‘parlours’, the kinetoscope was the first publically installed device for viewing short films and the first to exhibit the iconic serpentine dances à la Loïe Fuller, in colour.

The Fashion in Film Festival’s Kinoscope Parlour features fims by early cinema pioneers Georges Méliès, the Lumière brothers, Thomas Edison, Gaston Velle, Segundo de Chomón, J.H. Paul, Ferdinand Zecca and Alice Guy-Blaché. The project highlights the notion of early cinema as an ‘attraction’ where the films as well as the mode of their exhibition foreground the very acts of showing and looking.

The selection of films on show stresses the key role that costume played in early cinema, showcasing some mesmerising dress manipulations and magical transformations.

The Kinoscopes take the wizardry of early cinema outside the auditorium and recreate the excitement of the late-19th century viewing experience. They use cutting-edge digital technology that allows you to control the speed of film projection. Turn the wheel to animate costume at your own pace!

In addition to early ‘costume films’, each Kinoscope will also feature footage from London’s film archives that reveals hidden layers of the capital’s cinema history in the first half of the 20th century, from a demonstration of the mechanics behind Edison’s kinetoscope, to a look at cinema as both an industry and leisure activity in the 1920s, and a glimpse of London’s luxurious ‘super cinemas’ built in the 1930s.

The Kinoscope Parlour is funded by Film London and the UK Film Council’s Digital Film Archive Fund, supported by the National Lottery.