""Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and Early Cinema"" examines the origins and early history of film studios and studio architecture. It develops a transnational history of the studios as they emerged in the France and the United States up to 1915. By examining the development of film studios in these contexts, I explain how their major film corporations contributed to the studio's development as a film production space, an architectural and industrial form, and a site for the technological and cinematic innovations that would make the studio a key instrument in Hollywood's ""studio system"" the interwar European film industry, and the future of diverse forms of studio-based media production. ❧ Just as film historians reassessed early cinema in the late 1970s, rejecting historians' characterizations of the first films as ""primitive"" and undifferentiated, this study demonstrates that the first studios were neither rudimentary nor haphazardly designed. The initial studios were as much the concrete product of a cinematic imagination as the films produced in them. In order to generate imaginary worlds on film, inventors had to create new worlds in which to film. ❧ Drawing upon work by historians of technology, I argue that cinema should be understood as a critical component of the technological developments that made the modern built environment increasingly artificial. In order to theorize the nature of early studio space, I situate the studios in the century-long development of building materials and a genealogy of spaces that includes photography and magic lantern studios, greenhouses, international exhibition halls, factories, artists' studios, theatrical stages, and scientific laboratories.
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