The Panoramic Vision of Barthes and Burgin

In this essay, I provide a new critical consideration of the works of the semiologist Roland Barthes and the artist Victor Burgin. The influence of Barthes on Burgin’s work is well documented. Equally, Burgin’s prominence as a theorist concerned with text and image offers a productive dialogue with Barthes’ work. The interaction between the two is most apparent in my mind when they discuss the limitless possibilities of the panorama and panoramic vision.

Throughout Victor Burgin’s career, the instability of meaning contained within photographic images is his main area of investigation. He is influenced by the theoretical writings of Roland Barthes, who in the early 1960s mapped principles derived from linguistics onto the study of other systems of communication based on signs. Burgin states that Barthes’s Elements of Semiology “changed my life.”[1] Mythologies, “Rhetoric of the Image,” and The Fashion System also impacted Burgin’s work.

In the course of his career, Barthes experimented with theoretical positions and styles, moving from existentialism and Marxism to a psychoanalysis of signs after Bachelard and a psychoanalytical anthropology influenced by Levi-Strauss and Lacan. In his later works, especially, Barthes turned from signs and used more creative forms of critical writing to explore the meanings contained within images. Burgin, continuing Barthes’s lines of inquiry as theory changed from the linguistic [2] to the pictorial turn,[3] moved between art and theory, image and text, photography and film. Drawing on French structuralist and poststructuralist thought, Burgin began his career with political text and image work but evolved into a more psychoanalytical study of time, memory, architecture, and space. Throughout their oeuvres, both writers have tried to denaturalize images which suffer from essentialist assumptions of their truth-value.

My essay explores the use of panoramic principles within the work of Burgin, influenced by Barthes. Panoramas were a prominent art form for a hundred years before cinema replaced them, signaling a shift in public viewing habits.[4] Cinema, a century after its invention, is challenged by a redefinition of the medium of film through digital technology. While the panorama has lost much of its earlier phantasmagoric qualities with the availability of large scale digital images, panoramas continue to be associated with visual pleasure and to extend visual knowledge. In investigating and decoding the agency of images through panoramas, Burgin uses verbal and visual discourse to investigate architecture and the space of the psyche.

Barthes dissects these codes in a structuralist examination of the Eiffel Tower in his early career and a phenomenological study of an image of Jerusalem in his late work. Building on Barthes’s concepts, Burgin began investigating the panorama in the 1960s and 1970s and embraces the panorama with his projected videos from the 1990s to the present. Burgin notes that the concepts of panoramic vision that developed in the nineteenth century continue in film, especially with the advent of digital technology, virtual reality, and the Internet.[5] Panoramic scans are a type of “photography degree zero.”[6] For Burgin, they are compulsive:

In my videos over recent years I’ve found myself returning to panoramic movements—almost against my will. And then, when I thought about my work before video, I could see that I’ve always been making panoramas.[7]

He continues:

In retrospect I can see that whether by coincidence or unconscious design, all of my work since then (the late 1960s) has taken the form either of frames laid along a track, or of frames panoramically deployed around a room.[8]

The panorama’s “demotic” nature draws his interest:

From hotel websites to Google maps, panoramic images are ubiquitous today—and so work with the panorama, albeit in ideological terms, is in a way also to “speak” in a lingua franca.[9]

Panoramas are, in Burgin’s eyes, an attempt to satisfy the desire for a direct and total experience of the world.[10] His work with panoramas considers questions of perception, experience, and spectatorship.

I. History of the Panorama

English landscape painter Robert Barker invented the panorama in 1787 with a 360-degree view of London. Visitors paid a small fee, entered the invention through a tunnel, and emerged from a spiral staircase at its center. A large circular painting enveloped spectators with an elevated viewing platform in the middle so their eyes were level with the horizon line of the picture. Natural lighting emanated from the top of the building, but a roof concealed its source and the upper edge of the canvas while other objects masked the lower edge. Music, narration, and other special effects enhanced the experience. The frameless painting gave spectators the illusion of being surrounded by the landscape. Standing on the edge of a seemingly infinite space, gazing at the natural and technological spectacle filled viewers with awe.

Panoramas were the first visual mass medium.[11] In their all-encompassing totality, the magic realism of the panoramic form offered visions of colonial adventures, architectural ruins, urban outlooks, and martial epics. Breathtaking vistas of distant lands allowed visitors to see parts of the world they could never visit while promoting the imperialist policies of the era. Pictorialized battles of the Napoleonic Wars capitalized on nationalist sentiments in Paris. Panoramas also replicated the cities that exhibited them.[12] This curious duplication served as a way to regain control of space that the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of metropolises transformed.[13] They organized the urban space, acted as a way of reckoning with the changing world, and afforded a spatial hegemony of vision. Panoramas “worked both to represent the new scale of the city to its inhabitants and to act as a visual guide for the architect-planner.”[14]

Panoramic verisimilitude appealed to a need for dominance and possession, as viewers sought to understand their relationship with the spaces they inhabited, as well as those they coveted.[15] Panoramas offered “an omnipresent view…following Enlightenment principles of transparency and visual surveillance.”[16] Looking at paintings required visitors to suspend judgment and to give themselves over to the fictions presented for their pleasure. As a totalizing experience, panoramas enthralled the viewing public by catering to the era’s need for colonial expansion.

The panoramic view also offered a modern vision, as the central perspective offered in traditional paintings shifted to the multiple perspectives offered in 360-degree paintings. “As a form of art that yielded to the pressure of the horizon, the panorama produced a side effect that was certainly unintentional: it created a new and more ‘democratic’ perspective.”[17] The manifold viewpoints of the painting gave the experience of movement, guiding the eye to move along the canvas. The field of vision was so broad that it was impossible to see the whole scene at a glance. The panorama:

escapes the frame; it encompasses in the sweep of the moving gaze that which the static reflection of the mirror refuses; it captures what is hidden outside the boundaries of the picture, fixing what is momentarily lost to sight.[18]

The multiplicity of details in the painting are seen only from moving the head and the body, not a fixed point. Bonnemaison argues that the panorama is akin to gesture:

The rotation on its own axis is a total body-movement—it is a body gesture which, in panoptic, is transmitted into an instantaneous visual memory. What may seem likes a technological invention in fact an extension of the body-motion and a way of rendering motion.[19]

Details contribute to the illusionary totality of euphoric vision. The viewer must read the image as visual text, scanning the picture’s planes to catch the full depiction. Heightening and abstracting viewers’ perception of time and space, panoramas reveal much more of the world that can be seen with the naked eye. They present an amplified version of the real that transcends the traditional boundaries of image-making.

Panoramas offered two other new ways of seeing: time and class system. The image must be experienced successively, “projecting the diachronic onto the plane of the synchronic” as spatial and temporal aspects coexist with the image.[20] These elongated views froze their subjects in time, yet there remained an unmistakable flow and movement within each panorama. The image also appealed to the tastes of an emerging bourgeoisie. What had previously been the domain of a privileged few now became available to anyone able to pay the price of admission.[21]

The diorama improved the viewing experience in 1822. The dramatic, carefully modulated projection of light above and behind the transparent canvas created the impression of movement, atmosphere, and the passage of time. Viewers were either seated on a moving platform or the image moved in front of the viewer. Special effects allowed dioramas to imitate nature while foreshadowed the realism offered in photography and film. Mechanical and theatrical technologies animated the images to create narratives.

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, a painter and promoter of the diorama, invented the daguerreotype process in 1839. Soon afterward, panoramic photographers captured the sweeping views of Paris during its transformation. The long exposure times of the early chemical processes required a still subject; architecture was an ideal object on which to focus the camera lens.

Early photographic panoramas promoted tourism and documented engineering projects, archeological expeditions, architectural surveys, and military campaigns. The earliest panoramic photos in the United States enticed developers to invest in cities by displaying their occupied centers and the empty acreage beyond in a single frame. Panoramas imposed an aesthetic order to the haphazardness of city development and celebrated regional growth, commerce, and conquest. It civilized the city and made it comprehensible as an enclosed object. The worldview offered by the panorama implied prosperity and progress.

II. Barthes and the Panorama

The earliest reference to the panorama in Barthes’s work is an essay on the Eiffel Tower. “The Eiffel Tower,” published in the United States in 1979 in The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies, was first written in the mid-1950s during Barthes’s structuralist period.

The tower evolved as a symbol of Paris and metropolises in general, due in part from its role as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair. World fairs, which often housed spectacular panoramas, promoted progress, nationalism, and utopian goals through technology.[22] By extension, the tower also manifested these attributes as an urban icon. At the time of its construction, the tower was the largest building in the world. A panorama of the city of Paris stood at the center of the exhibition grounds, which had been built in the center of Paris.[23]

The tower represents a modern Paris, transformed by Georges-Eugène Haussmann during Emperor Napoléon III’s reign. His public works program annexed suburbs; removed medieval neighborhoods; built boulevards, parks, and squares; and constructed new sewers and aqueducts. Paris’s street plan and distinctive center resulted from Haussmann’s renovation campaign. The Boulevard Haussmann was a short walk from the Passage des Panoramas, which housed three of the earliest panorama buildings in Paris.[24] Burgin writes:

Haussmann distinguished himself by the aesthetic superiority of his brutality. He called himself artiste démolisseur. In effect, he was a stage designer. Haussmann’s boulevards provide spectacular perspectives. The façades of the buildings are harmonious, as is all the street furniture. The breadth of the streets allows luxuriously wide pavements. Here, those Parisians who could afford it might both parade and take their turn in the audience at a pavement café. The newly perfected camera was the means by which this emergent form of participant theatre became self-conscious—at least after the lifting, in 1890, of legal restrictions on photographing on “la voie publique.”[25]

The city becomes a type of living panorama in which its flâneurs walk through the artistic medium.

Barthes finds that the tower provides a vantage point from which architecture can be read: a panorama. A report published in La Construction moderne in 1889 related the feeling created by the tower: “The panorama developed the higher you climb. . . .Paris and the surrounding area look detached as on a map.”[26] While the tower symbolizes many concepts, Barthes notes that it holds a “major symbolic function . . . which is its final meaning:” the gaze that deciphers Paris.[27] Functioning as a balcony, it offers a panoramic vision:

The Tower makes the city into a kind of nature; it constitutes the swarming of men into a landscape . . . To visit the Tower, then, is to enter into contact not with a historical Sacred, as is the case for the majority of monuments, but rather with a new nature, that of human space.[28]

The tower provides an aerial view that allows visitors to read the text of Paris. The structure of the urban space becomes visible through the panorama that Barthes defines as:

An image we attempt to decipher, in which we try to recognize known sites, to identify landmarks. Take some view of Paris taken from the Eiffel Tower; here you make out the hill sloping down from Chaillot, there the Bois de Boulogne; but where is the Arc de Triomphe? You don’t see it, and this absence compels you to inspect the panorama once again, to look for this point which is missing in your structure.[29]

Barthes continues, “the bird’s eye view . . . gives us the world to read.[30] The tower observer becomes an interpreter of the urban landscape, as it is laid out as a text to be examined “in their structure.”[31] Therefore, “Every visitor to the Tower makes structuralism without knowing it.”[32] Among the multiplicity of meanings that the cityscape can hold, a hierarchy of signification exists: its panoramic function.

Years later, Barthes again describes a panorama in Camera Lucida (1980) while reflecting on the phenomenological aspects of an Auguste Salzmann’s photograph, taken near Jerusalem in 1854.[33] The French Ministry of Public Instruction supported Salzmann’s trip to the Holy Land to document the region.[34] In the course of his travels, he created 150 calotypes of historical monuments in Egypt and Jerusalem.[35]

The image displays a landscape with a winding road to Bethlehem that guides the eye. The road is similar to the rivers, canals, and paths in the Dutch paintings discussed in Barthes’s “The World as Object” (1953). These ways of access “lubricate man’s gaze amid his domain” across the work, and by extension, Salzmann’s photograph.[36] The calotype is “nothing but stony ground, olive trees,” an empty sign ready for inhabitation.[37] Given that the Second Empire was a period of increased French colonial expansion, showing parts of the world as empty justified expanding empires.[38] Early photographers, for example, accompanied archeologists to photograph objects too large to bring back to Europe.[39] Salzmann’s photograph is a claim to the area to reassure viewers that the conquest of the land is possible and probable; to capture the land intellectually and visually meant to capture it physically too. The audience employs phenomenology to transport themselves into the image. They read the glories of past civilizations, the drama of ruined architecture, and the spiritualism of biblical associations into the image and others in Salzmann’s portfolio. The photograph, with its Orientalist theme, allows viewers to control the visible through the imperialist lens.

III. Burgin and the Panorama

Photopath is Burgin’s first foray into the panorama. Burgin executed the work in some versions in the late sixties, with its first presentation at the London’s ICA version of the landmark exhibition “When Attitudes Become Forms” in 1969. He took photographs of the hardwood floor on which the work would be installed in the exhibition, enlarged the scale so that the images exactly matched the wood, and laid them on the floor to form a footpath. The proportions of one by 21 units mimic the horizon of the panorama. The work compares objective reality with its pictorial representation as a trompe l’oeil, and it interferes with its functionality because it is a path that is unwalkable and unmovable without being destroyed. The image is seen, yet the mental image of the real flooring cannot be unseen, which offers a reflection on photography and the act of seeing. Because Photopath is an image that is meant to be scrutinized by the eye, rather than walked on, it is closer to a panoramic painting than to a road. Burgin states:

It was a piece of “sculpture” in as much as it was material on the floor, in an art gallery, and had no other function than to be looked at by an art audience. But it was very ephemeral at the same time—just paper—photographs that only showed what was already there….It was an inchoate anti-capitalist gesture, because it would make no sense to move it—you couldn’t collect it, it could only be where it was.[40]

In the mid-1970s, a critical shift in thought changed British cultural theory. The most important factor in this movement was the feminist and psychoanalytic critique of representation. Structuralism in the late 1960s and 1970s was premised on a universal idea of the spectator. However, as feminism and psychoanalytic theory became significant forces in the 1970s, conceptions of spectatorship changed. Where Structuralism often chose to foreground physical aspects such as the frame, psychoanalytic feminism insisted upon psychical aspects of the image such as desire. The difference marked as early and late Barthes bears witness to the earlier fissure in France. Barthes’s S/Z (1970), a text of the transition, was first published in Britain in 1975 and marked an important shift in poststructuralist writing. Lacan, Kristeva, and Derrida impacted Barthes’s switch from an interest in semiology to one in textuality. Laura Mulvey’s incisive psychoanalytical account of visual pleasure, a key essay on cinema of the era, was also published that year.[41]

Burgin’s Zoo 78, a series of four interrelated diptychs, is a work that explores the panorama with a new lens offered by these theories.[42] In West Berlin, the zoo was at the center of the city and was an emblem of captivity and surveillance. Berlin’s main railway station, Zoo, is located near the actual zoo, among a series of peep shows. Burgin states:

This is rather a work about the Berlin everyone knows, even though they may never have been there: the Berlin of the Wall, enclosure, isolation; the Berlin of the 1920s, with its reputation for “decadence,” the sexuality, its cosmopolitan character.[43]

The first image sets the scene with the text imposed over the photograph: “Walls and fences surround the zoo. Its inhabitants, knowing themselves to be watched, behave as if they were not.”[44]

Another image shows a Berlin sex show, shot from the point of view of a voyeur, looking through one of the several peepholes distributed around a room. A woman in the center, unaware if she is being watched, performs her routine on a revolving table in front of a mirror. On the right, text laid over the image states:

The plan is circular: at the periphery an annular building; at the centre a tower pierced with many windows. The building consists of cells; each has two windows: one in the outer wall allows daylight to pass into it; another in the inner wall looks onto the tower, or rather is looked upon by the tower, for the windows of the tower are dark and the occupants of the cell cannot know who watches, or if anyone watches.[45]

The passage is a description of the design of utilitarian social reformer Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon, the innovation in prison architecture. Developed in 1791 though never built, the panopticon is later described by Michel Foucault in his book Discipline and Punish (published in France in 1975 and England in 1977). Foucault used it as a metaphor for the surveillance which pervades authoritarian society. As the name suggests, the design of the panopticon was based on optics: a prison governed by the eye. A warden can see all the prisoners from his central tower, but they cannot see him. The contact between prisoners and guards remains purely visual. The panoption is an image of power, which is able “to alter behavior, to train or correct individuals.”[46]

The spatial and optical order in the text inverse what one sees in the photograph. In the image, the many voyeurs (or wardens) are secure in darkness at the periphery, gazing at the solitary figure (the prisoner) bathed in light. Even so, the situation is still rooted in the hegemonic orders of power; such constant surveillance seeks to ensure acceptable behavior in modern society. The panorama and the panopticon “are at the same time identical and antithetical: in the panorama the observer is schooled in a way of seeing that is taught to the prisoners in the panopticon.”[47]

The image mimics another image in the series where a female bartender stands behind a circular bar surrounded by patrons. A voyeur gazes at her while she looks away. Burgin shows that the male gaze forms the paradigm for all exploitative relationships in society. He writes, “My engagement with gender politics, in my work, took the form of an attention to the construction of gendered identities through identifications with images.”[48] Mulvey argued that “‘Woman,’ connotes ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’ in a visual culture organized by the unconscious of patriarchy.”[49] According to Mulvey, the act of looking is controlling, voyeuristic, and sadistic. Freud, too, promoted the theory that scopophilia and the drive to mastery linked voyeurism with sadism and gaze with power. Burgin, perhaps, as also thinking about the semiologist Victor Shklovsky, whose book Zoo, or Letters Not about Love (1923, translated into English in 1971) inspired the work. 

While the peep show image at its surface seems erotic, it is not. With the text, the photo viewer associates themselves with the woman in the image, the prisoner in the panopticon. Mulvey notes that women’s bodies are fetishized by their fragmentation. Here, the woman’s body is shown in full and reflected in a mirror. The camera attempts to frame her in the panorama, but it cannot.

The point of departure for Barthes and Burgin is that Barthes writes about photography “in opposition to Cinema,” whereas Burgin sees photography and film as a continuum.[50] For Barthes, the movement in film denies access to the punctum, and it interferes with the death inherent in images by portraying an illusion of life. Rather than the stillness of the photograph, cinema bustles with life.[51] Burgin offers a “zero degree” cinema, writing that Barthes:

complained that, in the cinema, you are not permitted to close your eyes. The silences in my videos, the places where “nothing happens,” where you may close your eyes, are spaces where viewers may inscribe their own associations.[52]

Burgin explores spatial movement in his photographic series and his digital projections, the latter being dominated by circular panning motions which double back on themselves.

In Venise (1993), Burgin explores Marseilles with dual analysis, working with video for the first time in his career. The 30-minute film has a beginning, middle, and end, whereas his later films loop. Burgin focuses on the port cities of Marseilles and San Francisco. The first city is the site of the French crime novel D’entre les Morts (1954) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac and the latter is the site of Albert Hitchcock’s’ film Vertigo (1958), which is adapted from the novel. The film is punctuated by brief colonial sequences from Julien Duvivier’s film Pépé le Moko (1937) and North African music to emphasize the theme of migration, as well as colonialism and Orientalism.

The film recreates how walking the streets of a city remind visitors of past experiences in other locales. The title is taken from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities (1972) at the its conclusion: “Every time I describe a city, I say something about Venice.” As a migrant, there is no place that is home; spaces is always haunted by the remembrance of other cities. Burgin states that the work is “about the production of an identity in relation to places, the history of those places, personal memory, and other people.”[53] “The temporality of migration involves the recognition of the encountered city in terms of its resemblances to cities of the past, that is, repetitions and persistences of prior psychic structures within the new.”[54] Experiences are always filtered through a network of prior recollections and feelings. Marseilles, as a site of migration since its founding, comprised of memories of other times and other places.

Burgin’s camera is neutral and dispassionate, simply documenting the city’s physical and architectural spaces—an impulse toward clarity and overview most forcefully states in the visual discourse of the panorama, through the elevated and panoptical views of the city seen all at once.[55]

The film tells the story of Vertigo, with its plot where one character is compelled to repeats the fate of another, as Madeleine repeats the suicide of her great-grandmother, and Judy repeats the role of Madeleine. The male narrator has a slight English accent, the female narrator an Arabic on.

Projected on one side of a built rectangle in the center of the central space, Journey to Italy’s (2006) panoramic shots are constructed from a series of shots taken on site that represent the panoramic view of the site from the perspective of the woman in Carlo Fratacci’s original photograph of Pompeii[56] and the panoramic view of the site from the position of the original photographer.

On opposite walls adjacent to the screen, the related photo-text pieces Basilica I, consisting of 24 black-and-white photographs and one text, and Basilica II, consisting of 17 photos and one text, echo the spatial layout of the colonnades in the original photograph, which the viewer maps out as they read the images.

The Ideal City (2014) features a woman wandering through the streets of a virtual “ideal city.” The computer-generated protagonist is Lidia, the character played by Jeanne Moreau in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film, La Notte (1961). The images, created with 3D modeling software, are interspersed with text screens describing the figure’s actions. Two 30-by-83-inch black-and-white prints, realized with the same technology, complete the installation. They reproduce two of three 15th-century Italian paintings known as Citta Ideale (The Ideal City), attributed to Piero della Francesca or his school, housed in the Ducal Palace in Urbino. Both present a panoramic view of ordered view of buildings and a plaza. The painting is a view of architecture that does not abide with the single perspective of the Renaissance. The architecture is central with no signs of habitation.

IV.  Barthes/Burgin

Through their work, Barthes and Burgin remind us that the meaning of images is far from self-evident. Instead, meaning results from interactions between the image, its context, and its spectators. Panoramas, especially, reveal the frisson between virtual reality presented by technology and the physical world and test the distinctions between the real and its representation.

Panoramas distance the viewer from what is being represented which enables viewers to discern the structure of things and permits an intellectualized mode of viewing. Panoramas create as well as substantiate myth, for images tell stories of their own. Viewers translate the language of images and their innate grammar. Burgin states, “Even a photograph which has no actual writing on or around it is traversed by language when it is ‘read’ by a viewer.”[57] In this respect, all photographs the phototextual. Images are impregnated by language, because some form of speech or writing accompanies images, such as captions, titles, museum catalog entries, or the conversations of spectators.[58] As Benjamin states, “…photography turns all life’s relationships into literature….Will not the caption become the most important part of the photograph?”[59]

Panoramic images move between panoptic vision and spectacular space. The panorama offers a grammar to an image: an optical realm of illusionary structure. The panorama’s unique representation of time and space, as well as its narrative qualities, has made it ideally suited to the demands of Burgin’s work. 


[1] John Roberts, “Interview with Victor Burgin,” in The Impossible Document: Photography and Conceptual Art in Britain 1966-1976, ed. John Roberts (London: Camerawork, 1997), 97.

[2] Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), 263.

[3] W. J. T. Mitchell, Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 16.

[4] The modern usage of the word “panorama” developed when the term coined to denote a type of painting became applied land- or cityscapes. Soon another meaning followed: a survey of a particular field of knowledge. The three meanings coexisted at first, but with the passage of time, and the disappearance of the painted art form, the meaning of the word as an overview of landscape was thought to be the primary denotation from which all other uses were derived.

[5] Victor Burgin, “The Time of the Panorama,” in Situational Aesthetics: Selected Writings by Victor Burgin, ed. Alexander Streitberger (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2009), 295.

[6] Victor Burgin, Components of a Practice (Milan: Skira, 2008), 91.

[7] Victor Burgin, Parallel Texts: Interviews and Interventions about Art (London: Reaktion Books, 2011), 128.

[8] Victor Burgin, Components of a Practice (Milan: Skira, 2008), 91.

[9] Victor Burgin, “Questions from Alexander Streitberger to Victor Burgin.” in Situational Aesthetics: Selected Writings by Victor Burgin, ed. Victor Burgin and Alexander Streitberger (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2009), 4.

[10] Victor Burgin, “The Time of the Panorama,” in Situational Aesthetics: Selected Writings by Victor Burgin, ed. Alexander Streitberger (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2009).

[11] Stephan Oettermann, The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium, trans. Deborah Lucas Schneider (New York: Zone Books, 1997), 7.

[12] Barker’s panorama of Edinburgh (1788) and London (1792), Prévost’s Paris (1799), Girtin’s Eidometropolis (London) (1802), Tiekler’s Berlin (1801), Janscha and Post’s Vienna (1804), Targnola’s Hamburg (1805), Morgenstern’s Frankfort (1817), Hornor’s Colosseum in London (1829), and Sattler’s Salzburg (1829) are among the same-city panoramas cited in Stephan Oettermann, The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium, trans. Deborah Lucas Schneider (New York: Zone Books, 1997).

[13] Bernard Comment, The Painted Panorama (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999), 8.

[14] Anthony Vidler, “Victor Burgin’s Architectural Palimpsests,” in Projective Essays about the Work of Victor Burgin (Geneva: Musee D’Art Moderne Geneve 2014), 117.

[15] Bernard Comment, The Painted Panorama (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999), 19.

[16] Anthony Vidler, “Victor Burgin’s Architectural Palimpsests,” in Projective Essays about the Work of Victor Burgin (Geneva: Musee D’Art Moderne Geneve 2014), 117.

[17] Stephan Oettermann, The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium, trans. Deborah Lucas Schneider (New York: Zone Books, 1997), 31.

[18] Anthony Vidler, “The Panoramic Unconscious: Victor Burgin and Spatial Modernism,” in Shadowed by Victor Burgin and Anthony Vidler (London: AA Publications, 2000), 12. 

[19] Joachim Bonnemaison, Panoramas: Photographies 1850-1950 (Actes Sud: Recontres Internationales de la Photographie, 1989), 34.

[20] Victor Burgin, “The Time of the Panorama,” in Situational Aesthetics: Selected Writings by Victor Burgin, ed. Alexander Streitberger (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2009), 303.

[21] For instance, an 1833 panorama of Paris depicted a view seen from the roof of the Pavilion de Flore at the Tuileries, a view previously available only to royalty.

[22] Susan Buck-Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991).

[23] Timothy Mitchell, Colonizing Egypt (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988).

[24] Dietrich Neumann, “Instead of the Grand Tour: Travel Replacements in the Nineteenth Century,” Perspecta 41 (2008): 48.

[25]  Victor Burgin, In/Different Spaces: Place and Memory in Visual Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 14.

[26] Bernard Comment, The Painted Panorama (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999), 141.

[27] Roland Barthes, “Eiffel Tower,” in The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies, trans. Richard Howard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 8.

[28]  Ibid. 

[29] Ibid., 10.

[30] Ibid, 9.

[31] Ibid., 9, 13.

[32] Ibid., 9.

[33] Auguste Salzmann. Jérusalem, Chemin de Beit-Lehem. 1854. Salted paper print from paper negative. Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 2005.100.373.172.

[34] Keri A. Berg, “The Imperialist Lens: Du Camp, Salzmann and Early French Photography,” Early Popular Visual Culture 6, no. 1 (2008): 4.

[35] Françoise Heilbrun, “Auguste Salzmann Photographe Malgré Lui,” in Félix de Saulcy et la Terre Sainte (Paris: Ministère de la Culture Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1982), 121.

[36] Roland Barthes, “The World as Object.” in A Roland Barthes Reader, ed. Susan Sontag, trans. Richard Howard (London: Vintage, 2000), 64.

[37] Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill & Wang, 1981), 97.

[38] Abigail Solomon-Godeau. Photography at the Dock: Essays on Photographic History, Institutions and Practices (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), 159.

[39] Emmie Donadio, “Seeing in Believing: Auguste Salzmann and the Photographic Representation of Jerusalem,” in Jerusalem: Idea and Reality, ed. Tamar Mayer and Suleiman A. Mourad (New York: Routledge, 2008).

[40] Victor Burgin, “Sex, Text, Politics,” Interview with Tony Godfrey, Block 7 (1982): 7.

[41] Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Screen 16, no 3 (1975).

[42] Two images from US 77 (1977) depict a road with advertising at night and a countryside from a vehicle during the day. [ADD MORE HERE]

[43] Victor Burgin, Between (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Limited, 1986), 78.

[44] Ibid., 62.

[45] Ibid., 72.

[46] Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1977), 203.

[47] Stephan Oettermann, The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium, trans. Deborah Lucas Schneider (New York: Zone Books, 1997), 41.

[48] Victor Burgin, Components of a Practice (Milan: Skira, 2008), 50.

[49] Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Screen 16, no 3 (1975): X.

[50] Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill & Wang, 1981), 3.

[51] Barthes allows the occasional punctum of death from film, particularly in older films where the viewer is conscious of the actor’s death.

[52] Victor Burgin, Components of a Practice (Milan: Skira, 2008), 95.

[53] Victor Burgin, “From a Presentation at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1994,” in Victor Burgin: Una Exposición Retrospectiva, Fundació Antoni Tàpies. 6 Abril-17 Junio 2001, ed. Peter Wollen, Francette Pacteau, and Norman Bryson (Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2001), 192.

[54] Norman Bryson, “Victor Burgin and the Optical Unconscious,” in Victor Burgin: Una Exposición Retrospectiva, Fundació Antoni Tàpies. 6 Abril-17 Junio 2001, ed. Peter Wollen, Francette Pacteau, and Norman Bryson (Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2001), 43.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Carlo Fratacci, Basilica, 1864. Albumen silver print, 17.4 x 18.1 cm (image, rounded corners); 28.2 x 30.4 x 2.7 cm (album). Collection Centre Canadien d’Architecture/Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal: PH1983 :0504 :007.

[57] Victor Burgin, “Looking at Photographs,” in Thinking Photography, ed. Victor Burgin (London: Macmillan, 1982), 144.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Walter Benjamin, “A Small History of Photography,” in One Way Street, trans. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter (London: Verso, 1997), 256.

Works Cited

Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Translated by Richard Howard. New York: Hill & Wang, 1981.

Barthes, Roland. “Eiffel Tower.” In The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies. Translated by Richard Howard, 3-17. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Barthes, Roland. “Rhetoric of the Image.” In Image-Music-Text, edited and translated by Stephen Heath. 32-51. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.

Barthes, Roland. “The World as Object.” In A Roland Barthes Reader, edited by Susan Sontag. 62-73. Translated by Richard Howard. London: Vintage, 2000.

Benjamin, Walter. “A Small History of Photography.” In One Way Street. Translated by Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter, 240-57. London: Verso, 1997.

Berg, Keri A. “The Imperialist Lens: Du Camp, Salzmann and Early French Photography.” Early Popular Visual Culture 6, no. 1 (2008): 1-18.

Bonnemaison, Joachim. Panoramas: Photographies 1850-1950. Actes Sud: Recontres Internationales de la Photographie, 1989.

Bryson, Norman. “Victor Burgin and the Optical Unconscious.” In Victor Burgin: Una Exposición Retrospectiva, Fundació Antoni Tàpies. 6 Abril-17 Junio 2001, edited by Peter Wollen, Francette Pacteau, and Norman Bryson, 41-52. Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2001.

Buck-Morss, Susan. The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991.

Burgin, Victor. Between. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Limited, 1986.

Burgin, Victor. Components of a Practice. Milan: Skira, 2008.

Burgin, Victor. “From a Presentation at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1994.” In Victor Burgin: Una Exposición Retrospectiva, Fundació Antoni Tàpies. 6 Abril-17 Junio 2001, edited by Peter Wollen, Francette Pacteau, and Norman Bryson, 192. Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2001.

Burgin, Victor. In/Different Spaces: Place and Memory in Visual Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Burgin, Victor. “Looking at Photographs.” In Thinking Photography, edited by Victor Burgin, 142-216. London: Macmillan, 1982.

Burgin, Victor. Parallel Texts: Interviews and Interventions about Art. London: Reaktion Books, 2011.

Burgin, Victor. “Questions from Alexander Streitberger to Victor Burgin.”  In Situational Aesthetics: Selected Writings by Victor Burgin, edited by Victor Burgin and Alexander Streitberger, 3-6. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2009.

Burgin, Victor. “Sex, Text, Politics.” Interview with Tony Godfrey. Block 7 (1982): 7-8.

Burgin, Victor. “The Time of the Panorama.”  In Situational Aesthetics: Selected Writings by Victor Burgin, edited by Victor Burgin and Alexander Streitberger, 293-314. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2009.

Comment, Bernard. The Painted Panorama. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999.

Donadio, Emmie. “Seeing in Believing: Auguste Salzmann and the Photographic Representation of Jerusalem.” In Jerusalem: Idea and Reality, edited by Tamar Mayer and Suleiman A. Mourad, 140-54. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books, 1977.

Heilbrun, Françoise. “Auguste Salzmann Photographe Malgré Lui.” In Félix de Saulcy et la Terre Sainte, 114-82. Paris: Ministère de la Culture Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1982.

Mitchell, Timothy. Colonizing Egypt. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988.

Mitchell, W. J. T. Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Screen 16, no. 3 (1975): 6-18.

Neumann, Dietrich.“Instead of the Grand Tour: Travel Replacements in the Nineteenth Century.”  Perspecta 41 (2008): 47-53.

Oettermann, Stephan. The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium. Translated by Deborah Lucas Schneider. New York: Zone Books, 1997.

Roberts, John. “Interview with Victor Burgin.” In The Impossible Document: Photography and Conceptual Art in Britain 1966-1976, edited by John Roberts, 80-103. London: Camerawork, 1997.

Rorty, Richard. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979.

Solomon-Godeau, Abigail. Photography at the Dock: Essays on Photographic History, Institutions and Practices. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991.

Vidler, Anthony. “The Panoramic Unconscious: Victor Burgin and Spatial Modernism.” In Shadowed by Victor Burgin and Anthony Vidler, 8-19. London: AA Publications, 2000. 

Vidler, Anthony. “Victor Burgin’s Architectural Palimpsests.” In Projective Essays about the Work of Victor Burgin, 105-32. Geneva: Musee D'Art Moderne Geneve, 2014.

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