From Kingston boy to Google Doodle

google-doodle-090412

Thursday, 8 May (this week) at 6pm I shall be giving  talk at Kingston Museum, Wheatfield Way, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2PS.

‘How did the young bookseller Ted Muggeridge from Kingston become renowned photographer Eadweard Muybridge of San Francisco, and how did Kingston Museum become the home of arguably the world’s most important Muybridge collection?’

and…

‘How is Muybridge’s work relevant to artists and the media of today?’

Find out on Thursday.

 

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

 

 

Early Popular Visual Culture

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I’m a little late in posting details of a Special Muybridge issue of the Routledge academic journal Early Popular Visual Culture, for which I was pleased to be guest editor. The contents, in no particular order, are as follows:

Early Popular Visual Culture
Volume 11, Issue 1, 2013

Eadweard Muybridge issue : Introduction
Stephen Herbert

A ‘roundup’ of Muybridge-related activity, 2010-2012.

Reflections on time, motion and photomechanics
Jonathan Shaw

This article is a reflection on my own practice and its connection to changing representations of time and movement within photography. In my work as an artist and photographer, I have endeavoured to develop a particular perspective on the relation between the heritage of photomechanical tools, new technologies, memory and space. In what follows, I describe a series of pivotal moments in the formation of this perspective as they exemplify a specific strand of photography, showing how they connect to wider transformations in the field of visual cultures.

Loops and joins: Muybridge and the optics of animation
Esther Leslie

Film is rightly understood to be an art of movement, but stasis plays a role too, from the first films which cranked into seeming life out of stillness to the mechanisms of contemporary animation, which is pervasive in cinema today. This article explores the relationship of stillness and movement in early cinema and pre-cinematic optical technologies, which demand a flick of the wrist to produce movement out of stasis. Muybridge’s sequential photographs found their way into some of these early and later technologies and provided the basis for such demonstration of the emergence of movement out of stillness. If mobility and stillness are concentrated oppositions in Muybridge’s work, so too are the related themes of animation and inanimateness, a partnering that relates less to the analytical dissection of life and more to the evocation of a spirited magic.

Muybridge, authorship, originality
Marta Braun

This article addresses questions concerning photographic authorship and originality, and how these issues relate to the work of Eadweard Muybridge. The subject of legitimacy concerning the scientific nature of many of Muybridge’s photographs is reviewed, considering his retouching, cropping, and rearrangement of images. The role of the University of Pennsylvania’s ‘Muybridge Committee’ is also discussed.

Eadweard Muybridge: Inverted modernism and the stereoscopic vision
Marek Pytel

Eadweard Muybridge’s stereoscopic photographs, published in large numbers before his famous motion sequence series were taken, have had much less exposure, and have been subject to far less research, than his chronophotographic images. This short study of just one of the more enigmatic examples of his stereographs considers some relevant aspects of visual perception, and the circular image, proposing connections between these aspects of Muybridge’s work and the Rotoreliefs of Marcel Duchamp.

Chronophotography in the context of moving pictures
Deac Rossell

This article, originally a talk given at Kingston Museum in 2010, considers the ‘four great chronophotographers’ – Eadweard Muybridge, Étienne-Jules Marey, Georges Demenÿ, and Ottomar Anschütz, and their reputations as ‘inventors of cinema’ – in the context of achievements by lesser known workers including Victor von Reitzner, George William de Bedts, Ernst Kohlrausch, Robert Dempsey Gray, and William Gilman Thompson, many of whom saw a different methodology for making series photographs turn into moving pictures, for different purposes. The article suggests ways in which the story of chronophotography in the context of moving pictures is currently incomplete.

Plus related book reviews.

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Muybridge, Michalek, Murphy: Olympic Celebration at Kingston

Olympic Celebration: Athletes in Motion

(c) Kingston Museum

The following is from This is Local London. A review and photos will follow.

http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/9829004.100_year_old_photos_capture_athletes_in_motion/

‘Kingston exhibition features 100-year-old photos of athletes in motion
7:30am Wednesday 25th July 2012 in News
By Clare Buchanan

The exhibition will be at Kingston Museum from 28th July.

In the Olympic year Kingston Museum is exploring old and new techniques used to capture athletes in motion.
The exhibition will demonstrate the way artists and photographers have changed and evolved and how they depict the human body over time. The showcase includes work by Kingston-born, Victorian photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who bequeathed his personal collection to the borough in 1904 and paved the way for capturing the world in motion. He was a pioneer in trying to capture motion in sequence photography and the exhibition displays many of his 1887 experiments of humans and animals in motion. Much of his work was devoted to athletics and the male physical form, reflecting a new emphasis on physical fitness and ideals of masculinity in the 19th century.

In contrast, the display also includes contemporary artist David Michalek’s work, which captures athletes in motion in high definition. Coinciding with the 2012 Games the exhibition also focuses on 21st century techniques, including the use of sport biomechanics to measure and correct technique and injury rehabilitation. A video by Charlie Murphy, called the Kingston Big Wheel, will accompany the exhibition, courtesy of the Stanley Picker Gallery.

The video is inspired by Muybridge’s iconic motion sequence and features 300 gymnasts, dancers and athletes creating a chain of human cartwheels. The Kingston Big Wheel forms the final project for No Competition – a series of artist projects exploring the relationship between art and non-competitive sport.’

Olympic Celebration: Athletes in Motion, Kingston Museum, Wheatfield Way, Kingston. From July 28 to October 20. Admission free. Contains nudity. Phone 020 8547 6463 or visit kingston.gov.uk/museum

David Michalek is an artist who takes the concept and techniques of portraiture as the starting points for the creation of his works, on both a large and small-scale, in a range of mediums. While earning a B.A. in English Literature from U.C.L.A., Michalek worked as an assistant to noted photographer Herb Ritts. Beginning in the mid-1990s, he began his professional photographic career working as a portrait artist for publications such as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Interview, and Vogue. Concurrently, Michalek began to delve into performance, installation, and multi-disciplinary projects. Since giving up commercial photography in 1998, his work has been shown nationally and internationally with recent public art and solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, the LA Music Center, Harvard University, Sadler’s Wells, Trafalgar Square, Opera Bastille, Venice Biennale, Yale University, The Kitchen, Lincoln Center and at the Edinburgh Festival at Summerhall with the Richard DeMarco Foundation. He has collaborated on the visual art component of two staged works with Peter Sellars: Kafka Fragments, presented as part of Carnegie Hall’s 2005-06 season; and St. François d’Assise, presented at the Salzburg Festival and Paris Opera. Other film and video work for theater includes collaborations with The Tallis Scholars; John Malpede and L.A.P.D., and with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in a project for The Brooklyn Museum’s “Music Off the Walls” series. He is a visiting faculty member at Yale Divinity School, where he lectures on religion and the arts. David Michalek lives in New York with his wife Wendy Whelan, principal dancer of New York City Ballet.

http://www.davidmichalek.net/about.php

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

All Change at Kingston

Jill Lamb (Photo: Kingston Museum News)

Staff News
One of the world’s most important collections of Muybridge material is held by Kingston Museum, in Muybridge’s home town. As with all local authorities, Kingston Council has had to make changes to its staffing and access, following a reduced Heritage budget. The Museum will now close on Mondays (in addition to Wednesdays and Sundays), so is now open four days each week, including an extended evening opening (until 7pm) on Thursdays.

Peta Cook left as Curator in September, after more than five years in post. Grace McElwee, Head of Libraries and Heritage, writes: “Peta has decided to travel the world and also visit relations in Australia, picking up museum jobs along the way… Peta was meticulous and conscientious in all she did but she will be especially remembered for her promotion of the Muybridge Collection which has put the work of this important pioneer on the map locally, nationally, and internationally…”

Our congratulations are due to several other long-standing members of the team. I was delighted to learn that Jill Lamb has been appointed Heritage Team Leader and Borough Archivist. For many years, one of Jill’s many responsibilities while working at the North Kingston Centre has been providing access to the Muybridge Collection, and for the past two decades Jill has always been most helpful to me with my own work at Kingston. And very recent news is that congratulations are also due to  Emma Rummins, another of Kingston’s stalwarts who has also been of great assistance with Muybridge artefacts over the years, will be changing jobs – from Local History Officer to Museum Curator, replacing Peta Cook. A new member of staff, Amy Graham, joined the museum team as a Heritage Assistant for 3 months, starting in October 2011. Amy recently moved to Kingston from Newcastle where she worked in the University of Northumbria’s art gallery. Sandra Murphy is Visitor Services Officer; Tove Bellingham is Exhibitions Officer; and May Cheyne is Administration Officer. A new post of Learning & Engagement Officer has been created. Less happy is the news of Rod Lewis’s departure at the end of this year.

Considering the financial situation that this country is presently facing, the immediate future seems bright for Kingston Heritage overall, including the Muybridge Collection.

Local History Room move postponed
During August, it was officially announced that there will be a delay to the closing of the North Kingston centre for one year. This essentially means that the Local History Room, Archives and Administration Office for Kingston Museum & Heritage Service (including most of the Muybridge artefacts) will remain at North Kingston Centre until summer 2013. News of the new location has yet to be announced.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert – with thanks to Kingston Museum News (Issue 67 – October 2011.)

Muybridge: The Eye in Motion

Professor Stephen Barber of Kingston University London, currently engaged in the Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship project on the Scrapbook of Eadweard Muybridge, has annouced details of his forthcoming book, Muybridge: the Eye in Motion, to be published by Solar Books (USA distribution by University of Chicago Press) in 2012. This promises to be a major new book, covering many aspects of the man and his work, as outlined in the Introduction. Central to the book is what Barber describes as ‘that unique ocular object’, now held by Kingston Museum:

Muybridge’s Scrapbook, in which he amassed every trace he viewed as essential about his work, across a span of over thirty years, so that it accumulated into an extraordinary memory-book that interrogated and overspilled time and its own parameters.

…. an aberrant vision-machine as well as a time-machine, and an irreducible archive in its own right, that holds revelations not only about Muybridge’s work, but also into the origins of film, the future of digital culture, and the perception of urban and corporeal forms.

The second part of the book examines

the close and revealing connections between Muybridge’s work and that of two key but neglected instigators of cinema, Max and Emil Skladanowsky, who undertook the first-ever public screening of celluloid-based films for a paying audience [in Europe] (using a projector, the ‘Bioskop’, they had built themselves, and showing films they had shot themselves, with a film-camera they had constructed themselves), on 1 November 1895, at a hotel in Berlin, two years after Muybridge’s formative glass-disc projection events in his Zoopraxographical Hall at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition

In the third part of this work, Professor Barber

… interrogates that pivotal memory-document of Muybridge’s work – in many ways, a crucial document for the understanding of how contemporary visual cultures originated – by disassembling it into the fragments from which it was created, in order to probe the all-encompassing ocular and corporeal processes at stake in Muybridge’s work.

Muybridge’s pervasive inspiration extends far beyond the domain of film and photography, encompassing visual art, poetry, performance, fiction, digital media, choreography, and theory.

The book also examines

… the archival, preservational implications of Muybridge’s work and its own movement into the future, as a body of work whose contrary amalgam is fused by preoccupations with loss, speed, perception, projection, corporeality, vision and the ‘tactile’ eye. In many ways, those preoccupations are exactly those of contemporary digital culture, and connect with archival issues around the uniqueness and potential reproducibility of objects, through such processes as digitisation. While forming a seminal presence for contemporary culture, Muybridge’s work, in its non-replicating resistance to assimilation, also necessitates an archive of its own. In a parallel way, his Scrapbook, itself a self-archiving by Muybridge of his work’s fragmentary traces in texts and images, also demands the formulation of an archive consisting of one unique artefact, in the way that Jacques Derrida, in his final interviews, envisaged objects of such all-consuming resonance that they required a tangible separation and a distinct space of their own, in order more intensively to then impact upon and reveal the surrounding worlds, and their visual cultures; in that sense, no object deserves its ‘sacrosanct’ one-artefact archive more than Muybridge’s Scrapbook.

Stephen Barber tackles  much, much more in this new work – do read the Introduction, which is online now.

http://muybridgesscrapbook.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/1-the-past-and-the-future/

Stephen Barber holds a PhD from the University of London. He has previously held posts at Sussex University, the University of Tokyo, the Berlin University of the Arts, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, the Keio University Research Centre for Art in Tokyo, and the California Institute of the Arts, where he was a Visiting Professor in 2007-8. He has been a Professor since 2002.

Stephen has received numerous awards and prizes for his research, from such foundations and funding bodies as the Leverhulme Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy and the London Arts Board, in the UK; the Rockefeller Foundation, the Getty Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Annenberg Foundation, in the USA; the DAAD-Programm in Germany; the Japan Foundation, the Daiwa Foundation, and the Saison Foundation, in Japan

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

News and Events roundup, February 2011

The lack of posts on this blog recently is certainly not due to a reduction in Muybridge activity. Other pressures have kept me away, so today a quick roundup of some recent happenings.

Roundtable Discussion: Cinema as a Paradigm Shift in Vision

Thursday 27 January.
Speakers from the Muybridge in Kingston programme returned for a group discussion examining how Muybridge’s work formed part of a wider 19th Century shift in vision as a way of understanding the world. We were gathered together within the exhibition space, around us the glowing images of wall-mounted zoopraxiscope discs and lantern slides. Speakers were Dr. Pasi Valiaho, Prof. Esther Leslie, Deac Rossell and Professor Stephen Barber. As Chair of the event (significantly assisted by Alexandra Reynolds) I certainly enjoyed the evening, and judging by the quality of responses from the audience, they did too. Marek Pytel, master animator of Muybridge images, later remarked: “Sitting, talking about perhaps an end of cinema, while surrounded by the very artifacts of its projected beginnings was actually quite moving. Sometimes one takes these things for granted – and one shouldn’t.”

Other events held at Kingston between September 2010 and January 2011 are detailed on the Muybridge in Kingston website.
http://www.muybridgeinkingston.com/event.php

Muybridge workshops

Rich Bunce gives us a taser of the work of his students at one of the recent Muybridge-related workshops:
http://www.richbunce.com/blog/tag/muybridge/

(c) Rich Bunce

Last Muybridge Workshop

Friday, February 25th, 2011

“This week I completed the last of the Muybridge workshops, which have formed part of the education programme at Kingston Museum; run in conjunction with the  Exhibitions on Muybridge’s work at both the Museum and Tate Britain.

The workshops have been great and really enjoyable to run to do which is always a bonus! Here are some highlights from the work…”

Click on the title above to see the work animated on Rich’s website.

Helios opens in San Francisco

Muybridge is back in San Francisco in a big way, starting on Saturday, as the Helios exhibition opened.
SFMOMA Showcases Exhibition: Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change

http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=45299

This first  review questions whether the exhibition should have grasped the thorny subject of attribution:

Photograph of Yosemite Valley from the 'Helios' exhibition

‘Helios: Muybridge in a Time of Change’ review
Kenneth Baker, Chronicle Art Critic
San Francisco Chronicle February 26, 2011 04:00 AM Copyright San Francisco Chronicle.  (Section reproduce here for purposes of review.) Saturday, February 26, 2011

‘…Weston Naef, , a ranking expert on Muybridge’s contemporary E. Carleton Watkins (1829-1916), argues that Muybridge bought the rights to negatives made by others, including Watkins, to market many of the pictures issued under his own name, or under his short-lived commercial moniker, Helios. That Watkins and Muybridge would have connected in the small 19th century world of San Francisco photography seems certain.

The organizer of “Helios,” Corcoran chief curator Philip Brookman, answered Naef’s suspicions by pointing out that some Muybridge landscapes from the period in question include darkroom manipulations, such as the addition of clouds from separate negatives, that appear nowhere in Watkins’ work.

Clearly, over time Muybridge did master the techniques of wet collodion photography and cultivated his own vision of landscape, of history inscribing itself on his time and of his medium’s potential for scientific scrutiny.

Incorporation of the controversy into the SFMOMA presentation – admittedly no small task – might have enriched it. But there is plenty to occupy the eye and mind in the show as it comes.

Muybridge’s innovations went to the brink of cinema, paving the way for the regime of kinetic imagery under which the whole world lives today.

Dwelling in the image world that Muybridge helped create, we inevitably view his work with the slant provided by the famous studies in “Animal Locomotion” first commissioned by railroad baron and university founder Leland Stanford.

“Helios” gathers those sequential pictures – which evidence a bizarre clinical curiosity as well as technical genius on Muybridge’s part – in a depth never seen in an exhibition before.

SFMOMA has appended a small contextualizing roomful of late 19th century American pictures from its own stellar photography collection. But visitors who remember the engrossing 2003 exhibition “Time Stands Still: Eadweard Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement” at Stanford will wish for more in the way of historical framing.’

Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change: Photographs, books and ephemera. Through June 7. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., San Francisco. (415) 357-4000. http://www.sfmoma.org.
E-mail Kenneth Baker at kennethbaker@sfchronicle.com.
This article appeared on page E – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/25/DDGE1HT66F.DTL#ixzz1F9b9MxDP

New animated film completed

Previously mentioned on Muy Blog, a new animation has now been finished  – as reported in asahi.com news

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201102220290.html

ANIME NEWS: Director Yamamura completes new short at Canada’s NFB.
by ATSUSHI  OHARA
2011/ 02/23

Muybridge's Strings

(c) 2011 National Film Board of Canada/NHK/Polygon Pictures

Animation artist Koji Yamamura (Mt. Head and Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor) has completed his long-awaited animated short, Muybridge’s Strings, in a coproduction with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and others.

Yamamura took seven years to finish the 12-minute short, slated for release this year….

“I aspired to become an animation creator after seeing NFB works when I was a university student,” Yamamura said. “I had always dreamed of making animated works at the NFB.”

Muybridge’s Strings follows the life of groundbreaking British photographer Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904)…..Yamamura’s animated short also includes a parallel story about a girl growing up in modern Tokyo. The film’s score includes J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon.”

“I wanted to draw ‘time’ in a documentary style with a poetic manner,” Yamamura said. “I wanted to capture moments of connection of the two stories that seem related to each other at one point, yet detached at another.”

The director said he came up with the idea immediately after completing Mt. Head in 2002. Yamamura sounded out the NFB for a possible collaboration through an animation creator he met at a French film festival. Later, Yamamura found a producer who was interested in his works and willing to join forces with him.

Yamamura looked for financiers from Japan while he worked on Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor. He began full-scale work on Muybridge’s Strings after gaining consent from Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) and CG animation studio Polygon Pictures Inc. as co-producers.

Yamamura spent about two years in Japan drawing key sketches for the project. Later, he spent five weeks in a wintry Montreal, where the NFB is located, late last year for editing, sound effects and other production work….

Yamamura is the first Japanese director to produce an animation at the NFB.

“(At the NFB), everyone from legendary masters to artists younger than myself is spending a great deal of time working on projects. It is like a school, with each artist interacting with one another.

“Their artistic creativeness is highly respected, but that doesn’t mean they can make whatever they want. I felt they all had a sense that they were doing their jobs ‘for the sake of animation art.'”

Many artists at the NFB, Yamamura added, spend several years making a short film, just as Yamamura did.

“It would be great for artists dedicated to animated shorts to make 10 or so good ones in their lifetime. You can’t create it if you don’t offer your life to it,” Yamamura enthused.

Yamamura had trouble finding sponsors for the project, which put the production on hold. But even so, he said, that was not a waste of time.

“If everything had gone easily and I finished my film in three years, it might have turned out different from what it is now. You can’t get to the bottom of your work if you don’t go through trial and error and have time to think,” Yamamura said.

“Thanks to advancements in personal computers and other devices, we have more convenient tools. But you have to give much thought to each frame and make it with your own hands. It takes time.” ATSUSHI  OHARA

 

 

 

 

Eadweard Muybridge Online Archive

A newish website that tags itself ‘Muybridge’s Home’ launched this month:

“We officially launched on February 14, 2011 and are in the process of processing and uploading all eleven volumes of “Animal Locomotion.” We hope to have them all up soon.”

“Welcome to the Eadweard Muybridge Online Archive. Here you will find images from Eadweard Muybridge’s seminal work Animal Locomotion, photographed from the original 1887 publication with the kind support of the Boston Public Library and its extraordinary Rare Books Department. These extremely high resolution images are presented copyright free and ready for download.

Dave Gordon, Curator”
http://www.enlightenedmonkey.net
http://www.muybridge.org/

February News Roundup posted here by Stephen Herbert
http://fada.kingston.ac.uk/staff/stephen_herbert/stephen_herbert.php