Spring / Summer Roundup

I’ve been neglecting this blog for too long – due to minor distractions such as earning a living. But also, there hasn’t been too much Muybridge activity these past few months. Here’s a brief roundup.

A new Muybridge song appeared on YouTube recently, and although I prefer ‘Good Evening, Major’, this one – which also has a ukulele as the lead instrument – is a pleasant enough ditty about love and murder. Perhaps some day there will be enough songs for an album.

‘Caroline Grannell performs her original song “Eadweard Muybridge” (true story!!!) with the wonderful ICMP band Ago, Alessandro, Benji and Natasha North’

YouTube continues to be a source of many short Muybridge-related videos, mostly student animations. But here’s something – Tim Cole’s Mining for Muybridge – that’s more ambitious, and more sophisticated than most.

This installation ‘Muybridge men’ (is this the original title?) has a mesmeric, zoetropic effect:

Kinetica Art Fair is produced by Kinetica Museum

http://www.kinetica-museum.org/events/talks-workshops.html

‘…and is the first of its kind in the UK. It brings together galleries, art organisations and curatorial groups from around the world who focus on kinetic, electronic, robotic, sound, light, time-based and multi-disciplinary new media art, science and technology.’

As everyone will already know, Google decided to celebrate Muybridge’s 182nd birthday in April, with one of their doodles. With a milestone birthday like that I should have anticipated such a thing, but I didn’t and a proportion of the hundreds of millions of people who logged onto Google that day checked out Muybridge on Wikipedia, and a proportion of those craving still more info clicked through from there to my website The Complete Muybridge, increasing my daily traffic by around 1000 percent, requiring a bandwidth upgrade. (Still, mustn’t grumble.)

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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

More about Muybridge at The Horse Hospital


Marek Pytel has been very active in Muybridge-related activities these past couple of years, animating zoopraxiscope discs and animal locomotion plates with great technical skill, combined with real insight into what Muybridge was doing. Now Marek’s initiative in staging the exhibition Muybridge’s Revolver provides an opportunity not only to view original plates from Animal Locomotion, rather than reproductions in books and on the web, but also perhaps to take the opportunity to buy one if you can’t bear to leave without it. Taking advantage of a tranche of plates recently made available by a collector, Marek has adorned the walls of The Horse Hospital – what venue could be more appropriate? – with a great selection, some of which are for sale. There are yet more being offered in the exhibition’s catalogue, which can be seen at the exhibition.

The revolver is of course the Smith and Wesson that Muybridge used to shoot dead his wife’s lover, Harry Larkyns, and a replica of a similar pistol together with a portrait of the old photographer form the exhibition’s centrepiece.

I was very pleased to be asked to lead a discussion in the exhibition space last week, with a small (but beautifully formed) group of participants. The Horse Hospital is very close to Russell Square tube station, and worth a visit just to see the interesting space. But there’s much more than that….

27th Sept 7:30pm FREE: Screening of Thom Andersen’s Eadweard Muybridge Zoopraxographer.

On the evening of 2nd October: Live performance from sound archeologist Aleksander Kolkowski accompanied by Marek Pytel’s film Eadweard Muybridge (£7.50).

2 Herbrand Street, Bloomsbury, WC1N 1HX

http://www.thehorsehospital.com/

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Muybridge’s Revolver

Muybridge’s Revolver at London’s Horse Hospital is a rare opportunity to re-examine Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion in an “Author’s Edition” accompanied by a selection of projected animations taken from original plates, culminating on the 2nd October with a live performance finale installation to Muybridge’s moving images from sound archeologist Aleksander Kolkowski of the Recording Angels, accompanied by Marek Pytel’s film Eadweard Muybridge premiered in 2010 at the British Library.

Also rare screenings of Thom Andersen’s Eadweard Muybridge Zoopraxographer (1974) on the 27th September, and a discussion evening on the 14th with renowned Muybridge and pre-cinema chronophotographic specialist Stephen Herbert.

A selection of original Animal Locomotion plates on exhibition will be offered, framed, for purchase and a further 60 original plates, also framed, for sale by prospectus.

THE HORSE HOSPITAL, COLONNADE, BLOOMSBURY, LONDON WC1N 1JD
SEPTEMBER 10th – OCTOBER 2nd
Tel: 0207 833 3644

‘Good Evening, Major’

Mr Muybridge continues to embed himself deep and wide within today’s popular culture, as evidenced by this new song from acoustic band Accordions.

Good Evening, Major‘ – music video Watch it on YouTube.

In April of 2010, the band Accordions wrote a song about Eadweard Muybridge’s murder of his wife’s lover in 1874. Shortly after the song was written, NPR publicized the first ever retrospective of Muybridge’s work in Washington D.C. at the Corcoran. They also announced a contest for videos or photos that bring Muybridge into the twenty-first century. Accordions went into the recording studio and contacted a long-time friend and collaborator Brent Aldrich, who is a video artist and photographer. This music video for the song ‘Good Evening, Major’ is the result.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXnTEVDSxv4
http://www.WeTookToTheSkies.com

Lyrics: And in a dream you were an island waves crashing just out of reach I watched you sleep. And in your sleep I heard you sighing crying a name that did not belong to me. Sparkling dew, flora and fauna– you’re vaster than views of the West. I held you best. And when I came to, thoughts of nirvana, and keeping your form in a frame, I held my breath. Pictures bled with light projecting my love with a scream– I’ll watch him fall. And I won’t feel a thing or speak his name– some major you met in the ranks, I’ll make him see (“Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge, and here is the answer to the letter you sent to my wife”) Pictures bled with light, projecting my love with a scream– I’ll watch him fall. And I won’t feel a thing or speak his name, some major you met in the ranks– I’ll make him bleed. (“Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge, and here is the answer to the letter you sent to my wife”) And I won’t feel a thing.

Benjamin Bernthal
Joseph Kilbourn
Ben Leslie
Kipp Normand
Steve Trowbridge
& often
Adam Gross
&
various fellow artists & musicians.

http://www.wetooktotheskies.com/about.html

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Muybridge-inspired Audio

The Five Lives of Helios

The Five Lives of Helios

performed at UCSD’s Conrad Prebys Music Center: March 11th, 2010. (Percussionist Ross Karre.)

And now for some modern audio pieces, with which I am well outside my comfort zone.

“The Five Lives of Helios is a work inspired by the life and work of the late 19th century photographer Edward Muybridge (who used many pseudonyms, including Helios). The piece functions as a wordless oration of Muybridge’s work as a pivotal figure in the photograph’s ability to stop time (with increasing shutter speed) and liberate time (via the horse motion sequences presented by the zoopraxiscope, magic lantern, and, eventually, cinema). In this piece, the bass drum serves as a development bath where a sonic, instead of chemical, fixing process distills Muybridge’s story.”

http://rosskarre.synchronismproject.com/Site_5/Helios.html

Too much ‘steam train’ and not enough horses’ hooves, it seems to me. Bring on the coconut shells.

***

Proof: Galloping in Sound by Floor Van.

“Proof is a piece inspired by the work of Eadweard Muybridge (1830—1904), an eccentric English photographer, known primarily for his work with use of multiple cameras to capture motion.”

http://theunobserved.com/art/proof/

What do YOU think? Please leave a comment below.

And for more Muybridge music, check out the links for Philip Glass’s The Photographer, from here:

http://www.stephenherbert.co.uk/mCDsDVDs.htm

Stephen Herbert

What is Muy Blog?

The Compleat Eadweard Muybridge

This blog is but a whimsical trifle of random trivia compared with the vast and organized resources available on the main website, The Compleat Muybridge … which isn’t – of course – complete, but strives to be a comprehensive guide to all that is Muybridge and his work. Go to the main page, or pick and choose from the subjects below.

Animations of Muybridge plates from Animal Locomotion

Articles from the past century

Artworks, new (links) inspired by Muybridge’s work

Artworks, new (on COMPLEAT MUYBRIDGE site)

Biography from several sources

Blog 2007

Blog 2008

Blog 2009

Books Extensive bibliography, with covers

CDs (audio) – an opera even!

CD-rom early interactive

Chronology Select year range from Home Page, r/h panel.

Chronology-Lite (Main events)

Comicbooks featuring the man

Conferences (past) an illustrated list

Digital motion experiments and artworks (modern)

DVDs listed

Exhibitions (on COMPLEAT MUYBIDGE site)

Exhibitions (online links), Festivals and Awards

Film experiments and artworks (modern)

Links to many Muybridge-related subjects on the web

Memorials plaques, statues, and postage stamp.

Modern products – design portfolios, and for sale

Movies featuring Muybridge’s work

Murals (exterior)

Museum collections and exhibitions worldwide

Music – that opera again!

Online articles and reviews (links)

Paintings and drawings inspired by Muybridge’s sequence photography

Philately 1996 US Post Office issue

Photographic experiments and artworks (modern)

Photographs (EJM’s) List of formats/subjects, plus links

Portraits (studio photographs) of Muybridge

References (to sources used in the Chronology)

Screenplays – more to be added

Search The Compleat Muybridge

Texts (transcribed from news items)

Theatrical works worldwide

Then and now,  photographs (Central America)

Timeline – Muybridge, Photography, Moving images, Inventions, World Events

Videographic motion experiments and artworks (modern)

YouTube selected videos

Zoopraxiscope – the machine explained

Zoopraxiscope motion discs described

Go to main page and explore!