Musser uses the phrase “screen practice” to enlarge the discussion from just cinema to a larger context. Musser gives several qualifications for a media to be part of this canvas of screen practice. One is the complex relationship between the screen and the spectator, which I find to be very interesting. Later on in his piece, “Toward a History of Screen Practice”, Musser discusses the different aspects of screen practices that make it what it is, such as “the combination of words and images, the use of color and movement, [and] the possibility of narrative”. In his article, Musser attempts to broaden what we consider to be a screen apparatus. He points out the concrete qualifications that we usually use and argues why these do not tell the whole story. I found the points he made in his article to be eye-opening.
One example of screen practice is the magic lantern. Magic lanterns are lit by many different sources. They shine light through a lens and project it onto the screen, with slides between the lens and the light. Another example of screen practice is the fire-screen. Known as “moonlight transparencies” or “diaphanoramas”, fire-screens “displayed transparent paintings in new and stunning ways…[and] were mounted on floor-standing wooden frames” (Huhtamo’s “Elements of Screenology”). Lastly, the catoptric lamp is also an example of screen practice. Involving reflection and optics and appearing to display some sort of devil-like magic (at the time), the catoptric lamp works very similarly to the magic lantern. With his catoptric lamp, Athanasius Kircher used many tactics, like smearing honey on the mirror in order to project flies on the wall.
I think that screen practices most definitely imply other kinds of interactive behavior. I feel like screen practices get the most out of a human being, like feelings/emotions of exchange, competition, conflict, cooperation, and accommodation, to list a few. The effects of screen practice are major in many different regards. And the different types of screens used alter the ways different people feel about what they have watched.
One question that I have is this: In my rookie studying of the topic, screen practice seems like such an elusive concept to define. Maybe one of the points of screen practice is that it can’t be defined and maybe this is what makes up the essence of screen practice. Does this make sense?