More than meets the eye? Football as visual spectacle.

By | October 2, 2009

Very enthralling to see the films of the ’74 West Germany World Cup. Watching these legendary players and teams is such a different experience than it is today, in the times of HD and incredibly high frame rates. The filmic moves of Cruyff and company appear to take us to a mythical realm… who can ignore titans of the sport  such as “Der Kaiser,” Franz Beckenbauer, a pioneer in the sweeper position, or Gerd Müller, scorer of 68 goals in 60 games for West Germany as well as more than 500 as a club player. If we were to go back even further, to the first filmed matches, we’d find choppy video of fixed camera angles–goals were recorded by a camera on a tripod, by which a ball flies and you see the blurry keeper’s dive in the corner of your screen, a vague wave of fans in the background leaping to their feet. By the 50’s, we have cameras that can pan, but have trouble keeping up with the action.

Of course, players now seem faster, stronger, more clever, more powerful. Which makes me wonder: how much does the technology through which we interpret the game change the way we play it, as well as imagine it? How does this visual representation of the world’s most popular sport affect other areas of our social consciousness?

Category: Fans History

About Joaquin Bueno

I am a grad student in the Romance Studies department. Currently I'm starting my dissertation, which will be a study of the importance of football in Franco's dictatorship in Spain during the 50's and 60's, the first "Golden Age" of Spanish football. I hope to also explore cultural politics and power structures in the age of global democracy. My teams are my two hometowns: Celta de Vigo (Spain), and also DC United (though I haven't followed them since the first season of MLS). I also play pick-up every week with varying degrees of success.

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