Panorama 

"Overcoming the concept of "progress" and the concept of "expiration time"are only two sides of the same thing."

Walter Benjamin; The Passagen-Werk [N2.4]

Since the advent of industrialization, the amount of information and products around us has grown exponentially. It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand and differentiate between what is relevant information and what is supposed or incorrect information. It has also become more difficult to determine which goods and services are good for life and which are not. At the same time, the meaning of the panorama displays got lost*. 

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The first passages were created in Paris in the middle of the 19th century. Shopkeepers joined forces and invested in the roofing of individual rows of houses and alleys. Before the first gas lanterns were installed, it was rather dark in the passages, a mixture of rain, dust and coal soot clouded over the glass roofs. The view of the sky was dim. All the more kicked the goods piled up to the left and right of the path.

Due to the widespread industrialization, visitors were faced with extensive warehouses for the first time. The mass consumption threshold has just been crossed.

With the constant expansion and refinement of production techniques and the increasing number of exhibition opportunities, more and more goods and information came into view of people at the same time. The alignment of the goods to the left and right side of the walkway in the passage shrunk the perspective to a point on the horizon line. In order not to make the room appear cramped, a trick was used: panoramic images were brought into view. In addition to their decorative effect, they created an illusory horizon and offered orientation. They soon became a style-defining element and contributed to the attractiveness of the passages. However, the task and Status of the panorama have changed, it was no longer an end in itself, but became a decorative element. The panorama, and with it the implied possibility of gaining an overview, was exploited.

Panoramas enjoyed great popularity in the first half of the 19th century. They served as a vehicle for information before photography and moving images became widespread. Panoramas showed landscapes and cities from foreign countries or from perspectives that one could not visit or take. They made it possible to dive into unknown spaces. Panoramas were widely distributed via mobile and stationary facilities. A variety of different formats emerged: dioramas, cosmoramas, diaphanoramas, navaloramas, pelorams, fantoscopes, georamas, stereo ramas, cyclamen, neoramas, myrioramas, kigoramas etc.

© 2023 Georg Keller

© 2023 Georg Keller