Christoph Ribbat's Flickering Light: A History of Neon PDF

By Christoph Ribbat

ISBN-10: 1780230915

ISBN-13: 9781780230917

With out neon, Las Vegas may perhaps nonetheless be a sleepy barren region city in Nevada and occasions sq. in basic terms one other busy intersection in manhattan urban. remodeled by way of the deploy of those brightly coloured indicators, those locations are actually world-famous, representing the colourful middle of pop culture. yet for a few, neon lighting fixtures represents the worst of commercialism. Energized through the conflicting love and hatred humans have for neon, Flickering Light explores its technological and highbrow heritage, from the invention of the noble gasoline in overdue nineteenth-century London to its fading attractiveness today. Christoph Ribbat follows writers, artists, and musicians—from cultural critic Theodor Adorno, British rock band the Verve, and artist Tracey Emin to Vladimir Nabokov, Langston Hughes, and American kingdom singers—through the neon towns in Europe, the United States, and Asia, demonstrating how they grew to become those blinking lighting fixtures and letters into metaphors of the fashionable period. He examines how talented craftsmen rigorously sculpted neon ads, introducing attractiveness to trendy metropolises in the course of neon’s heyday among the wars by means of its next acceptance in Las Vegas through the Fifties and '60s. Ribbat ends with a depression dialogue of neon’s decline, describing how those sparkling symptoms and installations got here to be visible as dated and attribute of run-down neighborhoods. From complicated neon lighting fixtures screens to ignored diner symptoms with unlit letters, Flickering Light tells the engrossing tale of the way a gleaming tube of gasoline took over the world—and pale nearly as fast as it arrived.

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Additional info for Flickering Light: A History of Neon

Sample text

The electric advertisements that had been impressive to start with were developed further from the early 1930s onwards. Advertising installations combined light bulbs, neon tubes and switching mechanisms that simulated movement. New projection technology made it possible to show cartoons on photoelectric cell surfaces, thus reaching a new level in the animation of advertising. This represented the last word in innovation and being up-to-date. 109 More and more spectacular advertisements followed, appealing to all the senses.

According to Claude, that was where research was to be found in ‘an amusing 31 Water chute at Luna Park, Paris, 1936. and entertaining form’, whereas so many scientists were ‘boring and single-minded’. Only Jules Verne’s science fiction had awoken him to science. 38 Claude’s enjoyment of effects closely influenced his work on the gas-filled glass tubes. He presented his new neon tube at Luna Park, an amusement park in Paris, in 1911. Alongside the roller coaster, the ghost train and the water chute he set up a stand to show off his latest discoveries.

The aim of the performance, as of Claude’s overall political programme itself, was support for technocracy. 42 Nevertheless, neon was to catch on more and more, becoming a new lighting technology employed in a variety of contexts. 43 From 1919 neon lit up the main entrance at the Paris Opera. 44 In the auditoriums of theatres neon tubes were placed near the floor, showing the audience the way in the dark. 48 But it was mainly in advertising that neon gained particular significance. Jacques Fonseque, a friend of Claude, was the first to market illuminated tubes, shaped as letters and symbols, as advertising signs.

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Flickering Light: A History of Neon by Christoph Ribbat

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