Muybridge in Manchester

The very welcome access to searchable digital scans of millions of “new” pages of British Newspapers (with more being added all the time), has started to give new information on Muybridge’s whereabouts and activities. I have had an ongoing problem with establishing the dates of his Manchester lectures c.1890, mentioned by Hendricks but difficult to pin down. The originals of the relevant newspapers at Colindale were unavailable for conservation reasons, and a quick check of available microfilms proved a dead end. Too lazy to go to Manchester to check originals there, I’ve waited until the scans were available online.

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser includes an advertisement (22 January 1890) for his lecture given that evening at the Manchester Athenaeum, which was repeated at the Concert Hall, Peter-street, on February 21st., “before a large audience”.

On 4 March 1890 the Manchester Courier, page 8, notes the purchase of:
“….Mr. Muybridge’s instantaneous photographs of animals in motion. These will be of great use to artists and scientific investigators, and cannot be considered dearly bought for £105, as they consist no less than 780 plates and fill 11 folio volumes…”

On 15 December 1890, the same newspaper noted (page 7): CONVERSAZIONE AT OWENS COLLEGE. “Mr. Muybridge gave an exhibition of instantaneous photographs in the Council Chamber… “, and on 18th December there appeared a report, p.6, of a lecture the previous evening in the Town Hall, to “a crowded audience”.

And it’s here that things get interesting. My chronology includes a lecture at the Hotel de la Société de Geographie in Paris on 24 January 1891, reported in the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin on February 28th. But then, the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser for 19 February 1891, includes an advertisement for a lecture to be given in Manchester on the 27th.

So … if my transcriptions of the San Francisco Bulletin are correct (it’s not unknown for me make mistakes 😉 and it’s difficult to check this one at present), this means that Muybridge was lecturing in Manchester on 18 December 1890, popped over to Paris for a presentation on 24 January 1891, scuttled back to Manchester to give a talk on 27 February, before careering off to Berlin for talks in early March. No flying, and no Eurotunnel, either.

All of this will be checked out before being added to the Chronology.

The British Library newspapers search facility is free, with charges for seeing digital scans of the results.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

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Iconic Kingston mosaic needs help

Linder Rothery and Ania Zawisza. Photo: Surrey Comet

News today from the Surrey Comet

Help needed to restore iconic Kingston mosaic
10:30am Monday 5th December 2011
 by Claire Buchanan

An iconic mosaic inspired by the work of photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge is being repaired by volunteers – but they need your help to finish the job. More than 15 volunteers have started work on the Castle Street mosaic, which fell into disrepair when tiles dropped off earlier this year due to the expansion and contraction of the wooden backboard. The helpers at Save the World Club, who designed and produced the piece, are now laying down tiles on mesh to recreate the mosaic by Kingston-born Muybridge, which they hope to make even better. Mosaic artist Kim Porrelli said: “It’s become a heritage thing in the town centre and it’s such a shame and we want to put it back. “We want Kingston to look as fantastic as it can, particularly before the Olympics.”

The mosaic, which consists of seven 8ft by 4ft sections, is expected to take 280 hours of work to complete and a further 10 days to mount it. Secretary of Save the World Club Mary Graham said the work could cost up to £3,000, due to the specialist skills needed for the instillation. She said: “We do not have that amount of money spare in our funds – we need help urgently to raise this money.”
Kingstonfirst has helped install the original mosaic and have donated money towards its repair. Town centre manager Ros Morgan said: “The mosaic reflects a key element of Kingston’s heritage, on a major pedestrian route into the town, and we would urge people to support its restoration so that it can be speedily reinstalled.”

Ania Zawisza, Kim Porrelli, Linder Rothery and Mary Graham. Surrey Comet

St Luke’s School pupil Ellie Felicien, 11, won a competition to make a Muybridge-style design for the mural, which was unveiled in 2004. Muybridge was the pioneer of moving photography, inventing his famous machine called a zoopraxiscope.
The club is looking for donations and for volunteers to help rebuild the artwork.
To donate text MUYM11 £ (amount) to 70070.
To get involved email kim@savetheworldclub.org.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Undance, Sadler’s Wells, review

A new Muybridge-related dance piece is currently being performed at Sadler’s Wells, London – unfortunately, until tomorrow only. Here’s a review by Sarah Crompton.

Undance, Sadler’s Wells, review
Mark Wallinger, Mark Anthony Turnage and Wayne McGregor collaborate in Undance, at Sadler’s Wells.
The Telegraph
By Sarah Crompton
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/dance/8932270/Undance-Sadlers-Wells-review.html

The tendency of most dance is towards flattering beauty, towards the lovely act rather than the uncompromising action. One of the many heroic qualities of Undance, this fascinating heavyweight collaboration between the artist Mark Wallinger, the composer Mark Anthony Turnage and the choreographer Wayne McGregor is that it isn’t always gorgeous: it has the knotty complexity of an idea being weighed and examined.
The concept in the balance was Wallinger’s. He placed Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering photographs of human movement and the verbs he made his models enact (to jump, to run, to walk etc) alongside Richard Serra’s more theoretical list of action verbs for sculpture (of entropy, of equilibrium). Then he added in “UN” – the initials that stand for a plea for redemption, a chance to undo what we have done.
This web of thought is reflected in a set, beautifully lit by Lucy Carter, which recreates Muybridge’s measuring grid at the back, and pictures of UN compounds at the sides.
It is echoed too in Turnage’s sumptuous score in eight movements, a network of oppositions, full of breezy, heavily-accented woodwind, bluesy brass, and running strings, beautifully played by the specially created Undance Band, conducted by Tim Murray.
The piece opens with the ten dancers from Random Dance Company, in flesh coloured costumes which make them look like Muybridge’s naked models, lining up against the grid, then moving forward to perform the iconic poses. A film runs behind them, slightly out of sync.


Then, as the music unfurls, so does the piece, with McGregor’s characteristically graceful distortions that fold back on themselves seeming to demonstrate not only actions – at one point the dancers run under strobe lights, looking exactly like the figures on Muybridge’s glass discs – but also thoughts. In one section they seem to push through time as well as space, as the film runs in the opposite direction to the steps we are seeing.
What we see is sometimes ugly, or angry, or confused, but it finds resolution by returning to first positions. The dancers literally do this: posing like Muybridge’s pioneers in an expectant diagonal line, ready to begin again. It’s both stringent and richly complicated.

There’s a video clip here, for a limited period:

http://www.sadlerswells.com/standalonevideo.php?video=712407530001,1224377398001&show=4016&more=1

Posted here by Stephen  Herbert