Journal Article

Henri Grünkorn: een geschiedenis van spektakel op de kermis voor de ‘Electrische Kinematograaf’


This article historicises early film experiences by examining them within the context of the late nineteenth-century culture of spectacle. The work of fairground showman Henri Grünkorn in the period from 1888–1898 serves as a case study, illustrating how the emerging medium of film wove together a number of elements from the culture of spectacle: mechanical movement, vision and observation, and reality as spectacle. Using the conceptual framework established by Anne Friedberg, Grünkorn’s fairground attractions (a rollercoaster, a mechanical diorama, tableaux vivants, and ultimately the ‘electrical cinématographe’) are revealed as variations on the mobilised gaze and virtual mobility.

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Tijdschrift Mediageschiedenis, Vol 20, Issue 2.
  • Pages:
  • Published:
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About the Author

Gert Jan Harkema

I am a doctoral student at the Department of Media Studies (Cinema Studies). In my research I try to describe what the earliest cinema audiences (from 1895 to 1900) were experiencing. Cinema as a new medium in the late-nineteenth century. My proje... Read more


Jan Harkema, G. (2017). Henri Grünkorn: een geschiedenis van spektakel op de kermis voor de ‘Electrische Kinematograaf’. Tijdschrift Mediageschiedenis, 20(2), pp. 96-111. Available at: [Accessed 9 Aug. 2022].