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March 1996, Week 4


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Meryem Constance Ersoz <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 22 Mar 1996 14:37:44 -0800
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Thanks to all who tried to help me understand the relationship between
backward wheel-spinning and persistence of vision, the phi phenomenon,
etc. It will take me awhile to sift through all of the posts and e-mail
and figure out what to make of the information. So many different
responses, some claiming that persistence of vision, as it has been
conventionalized by film studies, has been disproved, some have claimed
that the back-spinning wheel has nothing to do with retinal response per
se but more to do with the stroboscopic effect of the phi
phenomenon...and more. To tell y'all the truth, I'm not sure quite what
to think or believe...many of the responses contradict one
another...though all have provided me with much brain food to munch on
for awhile. I guess I need to re-think how I might go about presenting
this material to an audience. Clearly I need a better model than the one
I have been using...or I could keep it simple and make many disclaimers?
I notice that Bordwell and Thompson don't even use the term "persistence
of vision" in their updated FILM HISTORY textbook. I wonder if the
deletion is deliberate, based on fairly recent reconsiderations of our
models of perception?
In any case, thanks for problematizing the construct....
What is most interesting to me is how elusive a uniform and consistent
"scientific" explanation seems to be...or am I defaulting to a sort of
convenient postmodern posture...? I can't tell any more. It must be
spring break.
Meryem Ersoz
University of Oregon
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