City Models: From Panstereorama to the Present, a talk with Patrick Ellis

Thursday, April 11, 2019

2:00 pm

The David Rumsey Map Center Map

Sponsored by:
David Rumsey Map Center

On April 11, 2019 The David Rumsey Map Center will host a talk with Patrick Ellis about City Models: From Panstereorama to the Present

David Rumsey recently digitized an immense model of San Francisco built by the WPA. It includes every structure of the city circa 1939, carved in miniature. Historians of cartography swap stories of such models today; they are uncommon cartographic spectacles—one cast in stone, here; another printed in plastic, there. At one time, these models were common enough to warrant their own designated name: panstereoramas.

Based on material that will appear in Ellis’ forthcoming book, Aeroscopics: Media Archaeology of the Bird’s Eye View, this talk will survey the phenomenon of the miniature, model city—from plan-relief, to panstereorama, to the present—focusing in particular on such objects in the Balloon Era. At that time, the model city, heretofore a military artifact, was repurposed as a mass media approximation of the aerial view. The intrinsic scale effects of miniaturizing a city for a cartographic purpose doubled as the visual effects of elevation: these were maps that also served as balloon rides.

Patrick Ellis (PhD, Berkeley) is a Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His book, Aeroscopics: Media Archaeology of the Bird’s-Eye View (University of California Press), will provide a history of aerial vision in the era prior to commonplace flight. He works at the intersection of the histories of cartography, media, and technology. He has published in The British Journal for the History of Science, Cinema Journal, Early Popular Visual Culture, and Imago Mundi. As a curator, he has organized exhibits and screenings at the Center for Puppetry Arts, retroTECH, the Pacific Film Archive, and the Wolfsonian Museum.

Doors open: 2.30 pm
Event: 3.00 - 4.00 pm
Center Closes: 4.30 pm

The talk is free but requires advance registration. Please register here.

Thursday, April 11, 2019
2:00 pm – 2:00 pm
The David Rumsey Map Center Map

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