PRINT September 2015


Philippe Baylaucq, Ora, 2011, 3-D digital video, color, sound, 15 minutes 37 seconds.

“THE QUESTION to which Hollywood now is seeking an answer to [sic] is this: How long can the novelty of such pictures be expected to hold public interest?” This statement on 3-D movies was published in the New York Times—but when? One might easily mistake it for a line from one of the many recent think pieces that have waxed skeptical about the lasting power of digital 3-D blockbusters. In fact, it appeared on February 1, 1953—at the height of the so-called golden age of stereoscopic cinema—in an article detailing growing interest in the polarization process employed by the Natural Vision Corporation.1 Today, 3-D’s failure to gain an enduring foothold after its 1952–54 heyday often serves to support claims that it is a passing fad in our time, too. History repeats itself. But it is striking that even during its first major time to market there was a sense that 3-D

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