Happy Birthday Georges Méliès! Today would be the 150th birthday of French film-maker and cinema pioneer Georges Méliès. Over a century before we would begin using terms like ‘disruptive’ and ‘paradigm shifting’ to describe projects which alter the way we perceive the possibilities in the world around us, Méliès was doing just that.
Most people who know of Méliès at all know him through his film Le Voyage Dans La Lune (above, top). Considered the first science fiction film, it is a landmark in the history of cinema because it was one of the first films to use special effects to enhance and further the narrative. Most ‘narrative’ movies of this time period were little more than stage plays filmed with a camera. The original ‘big idea’ of motion pictures was that they could provide a record of an event. With Méliès, the motion picture became the event, by using the characteristics of film as a medium to tell the story.
There are many parallels between what Georges Méliès did with cinema and what new artists are doing today with emerging technologies. Augmented Reality artist and researcher Helen Papagiannis has spoken on the point several times that AR is currently at a time in it’s history which is an analogue to the point cinema was at when Méliès began his work: