The Architecture as a Visual Component. The Panoramas and Dioramas as Simulation Mechanisms to Experience Travel

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Panoramas and dioramas became popular visual entertainments in the nineteenth century as optical-mechanical playhouses that created illusions on a stage. Their special architecture and representations recreated virtual travel experiences in enclosed rooms. The viewer was seemingly immersed in places previously experienced only by pioneers, travelers, aeronauts, or sailors. The unique characteristics of panoramas and dioramas enabled them to be used as propaganda tools in World Exhibitions.
The panorama represents one of the first attempts to construct a virtual space. Its architecture was a fundamental tool in creating an ephemeral optical environment that depended on spatial relationships between representation, space, and spectator. The spatial layout changed the perspective of the viewer, requiring a tour to complete the perception. The panorama system evolved toward the moving panorama and contributed directly to the diorama’s invention. The diorama meant a change in the observer’s position in a predesigned performance, incorporating a motionless viewer in a mechanical device subject to a temporary display of the visual experience. It stripped the viewers’ autonomy by placing them on a rotating mobile platform, allowing different views and changing optical effects to produce a virtual experience.
This paper examines the significance of these immersive spaces in changing the traditional relationship between viewer and space in the nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69
Number of pages76
JournalIPC Journal. International Panorama Council Journal.
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Event30th International Panorama Council Conference.: Time & Travel. - New Bedford Whaling Museum. , Massachusetts , United States
Duration: 15 Feb 202118 Feb 2023


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