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Physical Cinema: some history, and recent practice

Mike Leggett

In The Man with the Movie Camera released in 1929, Dziga Vertov set out to establish an approach to cinema based on a complete separation from the language of literature and theater. His film, like that of Walter Ruttman’s film Berlin (1927), was set in the streets and environments of the modern industrial and cosmopolitan city. ", the media artist can craft physical cinema that takes place on the streets of the city." (Shapins 2011) 
Physical theatre, Live Art and Cinema have through performer and filmmaker established a vigorous practice in recent years, challenging the confines of traditional artforms, including the documents pioneered by Vertov. Contemporary practitioners have come together with audiences to create between them a physical cinema converging as a series of spatial modes.