‘Muybridge, Movement and Me’ project

One of the many varied and excellent projects that have been taking place in Kingston this past year is “Muybridge, Movement and Me” – and the results are now being uploaded onto the website www.muybridge.co.uk


“A group ranging from experienced artists to complete beginners was drawn together in the winter of 2010-11 by Kingston Museum to produce a response to the Muybridge Revolutions exhibition at the Museum.

Working alongside photographer Crispin Hughes, filmmaker Susi Arnott and the Museum’s Learning and Access Officer Caroline Burt, the group studied photography and time lapse techniques. Using inexpensive compact stills cameras, each member produced work on the cusp between still and moving images. Their work uses Muybridge’s techniques and themes of time and movement to explore their lives in Kingston, London.

This site will be updated every week as new work is produced by the group.
An exhibition of the group’s work will be on show at the Stanley Picker Gallery in Kingston 12-26th March.”

When you get to the website, you can download the exhibition poster shown below, and click PROCESS to see the first pieces from the group.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Weird Adventures airs on BBC tv

Andy Serkis. Photo (c) BBC

Apart from re-enactments in a 1960s US programme introduced by Ronald Reagan, Eadweard Muybridge as a character of considerable importance in the story of the creation and recording of the modern world has been absent from television. The Weird Adventures of Eadweard Muybridge is the first programme to attempt to tell the full story. It does touch on most aspects, leaving out the bits with very little visual material – the five years spent as a bookseller in New York, totally avoided in the commentary – and his various activities during the five ‘lost years’ back in Europe in the 60s. But for a one-hour programme, it packs a lot in.

Philip Brookman talks with Alan Yentob. Photo (c) BBC

The talking heads include Philip Brookman, whose exhibition in Washington did so much to introduce Muybridge to a wider public; author Rebecca Solnit, in splendid hat, musing on Muybridge in San Francisco as she wanders through the harbour; print collector Michael Wilson marvelling at the artistry of the travel photographs; Jonathan Miller not getting it at all, and insisting that Muybridge was simply an entertainer; recent biographer and long-time chronophotography specialist Marta Braun talking about the Animal Locomotion sequences; art curator Ann Dumas of the Royal Academy of Arts explaining the connection with the ballet dancers of Degas; and Kingston Museum curator Peta Cook introducing the sacred scrapbook, and zoopraxiscope discs.

A nice touch was Stanford Red Barn (Palo Alto) horse trainer Rachel Williamson confirming that the 1870s horse photos are still used today in the equestrian world.

Rachel Williamson. Photo (c) BBC

I got my fair share of the running time, mostly talking about the complexities of the image projections at a Muybridge lecture, and I also managed to get the last word in. [voice from across the room – “you always do…”]

‘Andy Serkis as Muybridge’ said the blurb, and he appeared reading Muybridge’s own words, wearing just a hint of period costume, but no stick-on beard. Serkis was also one of the expert talking heads, since he’s very familiar with the subject, having been developing a Muybridge feature film project for some years. And of course, he’s best known for being Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy – his physical image altered by CG techniques, in a modern development of the motion capture and image manipulation used by Muybridge for converting his photo sequences to painted animations.

No recent news on the feature movie, but perhaps it will happen someday.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Did Muybridge build the American Great Lakes in his Kingston back garden?

The following report is from the Croydon Guardian

Beasley’s panoramas of Muybridge’s garden

will be displayed on postcards you can take away from the exhibition

12:35pm Thursday 18th November 2010

By Graham Moody
http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/leisure/leisurenews/8674860.Did_Muybridge_build_the_American_Great_Lakes_in_his_Kingston_back_garden_/

There’s been a long-standing rumour about Eadweard Muybridge and a last great project he was said to be undertaking in the back garden of his Kingston home shortly before his death in 1904.

The renowned photographer is believed to have been creating a scale model of the American Great Lakes by digging ponds but no one has yet been able to ascertain whether or not he really was.

Artist Becky Beasley is now the world expert on the subject and has perhaps come closest to finding a conclusive answer which she unveil at her exhibition as part of the Muybridge in Kingston series at the Stanley Picker Gallery from Wednesday.

“The rumour about Muybridge’s last project is something that is really interesting for me,” she explains.

“A lot of people have tried to get access to his garden in Liverpool Road but there are big gated walls around the house and there was an access denied there if you like.

“I wrote to the owners though and explained to them what I wanted to do and they gave me access and allowed me to take photos.

“And so I made two 360 degree panoramas as there are two spaces in the garden, a small one and a larger space.

“The reason for the panorama is because I was inspired by Muybridge’s Panorama of San Francisco in 1878 that is still described as one of the best panoramas ever.”

Beasley’s panoramas of Muybridge’s garden will be displayed on postcards you can take away from the exhibition along with a pamphlet detailing her findings (which she is keeping tightly under wraps for now), all of which will be based on an expensive linoleum floor “For me the most ambitious part of the project is the linoleum floor I have decided to lay in the 140m square space,” says Beasley.

“I have designed an image that will be put into it and likened it to making a movie as it is centrally very expensive and a one off that will only be down for two weeks.

“There will be these two tall thin revolving postcard rails each with images from one section of the garden and they will be things you can take away.

“Although it is very much a landscape space we have opened it up and taken all of the temporary walls down so it will be a big open space that means as soon as you enter you will see everything all at once.

“You will feel like you are in a garden in terms of scale.”

Becky Beasley, Muybridge in Kingston Contemporary Commissions, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, November 24 to February 5, 12pm to 6pm (not Monday), free. Call 020 8417 4074 or visit stanleypickergallery.org.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Fish Tank Tuesday

This video on YouTube, Fish Tank Tuesday, captures  some of the recent nocturnal moving image projections in Muybridge’s birthplace, Kingston. The goldfish swimming on the front wall of the Rose Theatre are just yards from Muybridge’s childhood home (the building on the left in the top photo, now a computer shop).

On the evening that this video was taken, just across the street from what was, in the mid 19th century, the dwelling of the Muggeridge household is a giant silhouette of a running deer – a moving image produced from Muybridge’s own animated pictures.

 


And this animation alternates with a sequence showing the frozen successive positions of a galloping horse, advertising the current Muybridge show at Tate Britain, and a poster for the exhibitions of … Muybridge in Kingston. Strange to think of the young Edward in the 1830s and 40s, peering out of those windows at no.30 but never, in his wildest flights of fancy, imagining that in the distant future the immortal results of his own life’s work would be visible as giant, glowing, living pictures on the walls of the buildings in his own hometown High Street.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Muybridge (all over) Kingston

The Muybridge in Kingston project is currently inescapable in the old photographer’s home town. The Muybridge Revolutions exhibition (original lantern slides and motion discs) at the Museum continues until 12 February, with ongoing lectures.


Barkman Computers in the High Street – Muybridge’s childhood home, just across the street from the Coronation Stone – has a large window display, and in the Rose Theatre next door some of Trevor Appleson’s large colour photographs of human movement/activity are being shown. In the evenings, there are spectacular Nocturnal Projections (18 Sept – 11 Feb).

A few yards down the road at the Market Square, the ancient Market House recently housed a display of local children’s artwork inspired by the old photographer’s sequences of people in motion. As well as single-phase drawings of people in motion and photo-sequences for animating in mini cardboard zoetropes, the children made their own versions of the commemorative plaque that’s on Muybridge’s original house, with details of how they would like to be remembered – from the inevitable “league footballer” to “auther”. (More about the children’s work in a later post.)

This artwork was also in one of the rooms at the Stanley Picker Gallery.

Also at the Stanley Picker, is Appleson’s Dance of Ordinariness“an ambitious new moving-image and photographic work inspired by Muybridge’s famous collotype sequences of human figures. As part of a residency at The London Contemporary Dance School, the artist has invited dancers to reinterpret gestures and actions that relate to the various visual narratives that Muybridge himself built into his original motion studies”. The multi-screen presentation echoes the multiple-view format of the Animal Locomotion plates. One sequence shows water flowing from a mop in slow motion – the effect half-way between Muybridge’s time-frozen water in a similar scene, and watching this happen in real time –  allowing us to see (as in Muybridge’s published collotype sequence) the detail in the water’s movement, at the same time that the synthesized motion is being presented.
http://www.stanleypickergallery.org/index_more.htm

The exhibition runs until 13 November, with Becky Beasley’s exhibition following from 24 November.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert.

Children’s artwork, and workshop photograph, reproduced by kind permission of Natalie Kay, Education Coordinator for the Stanley Picker Gallery.

Flying horses to Avatar

Flying horses to Avatar – Eadweard Muybridge comes home to Kingston


http://www.kingston.ac.uk/pressoffice/news/134/19-10-2010-flying-horses-to-avatar—eadweard-muybridge-comes-home-to-kingston.html

For a succinct guide to the Muybridge in Kingston project, it’s well worth spending 13 minutes viewing the new video featuring David Falkner, Director of the Stanley Picker Gallery.

“Kingston University and Kingston Museum have teamed up to run a major programme of events and activities promoting Eadweard Muybridge. This coincides with the first significant retrospective of the famous photographer’s work arriving at Tate Britain from the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC.

David Falkner … believes that, in 2010, Muybridge’s work is more relevant than ever. In this interview he explains how Muybridge’s experiments have direct links to modern films such as Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and The Matrix.”

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Thank you, great-aunt Nell

(c) Kingston Museum

In the early 1890s, Muybridge contributed to the first edition of Funk & Wagnalls’ Standard Dictionary of the English Language, one of the great American dictionaries. His presentation copy of the two-volume work, with a handwritten dedication by Isaac Kaufmann Funk, was kept by the Lawrence-Smith household at Park View, Kingston, where Muybridge was living until his death in 1904.

(c) Kingston Museum

The family’s maid Nellie Sawyer was just 14 years old when she started employment in the household c.1902 and continued as cook, housekeeper and nurse until lastly Miss Katy died and Nellie retained the Dictionary. Her great nephews David and Roger Prince regularly visited their elderly aunt, and there was often talk of Mr Lawrence, Miss Katy (Catherine Plow Smith), Mr Muybridge, and Park View. The Dictionary passed to their mother in 1966-67, and the family generously donated the set to Kingston Museum in 1998.

(c) Kingston Museum

Muybridge had been given the task of writing entries relating to Animal Locomotion; yet another indication that Muybridge’s own scientific analysis of his photographic sequences has been used for texts in authoritative reference works. (So, doubters – ‘Go look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls’, as they used to say on Laugh-In.) Entries included line drawings based on the photo sequences.

Nature [Vol.50 p.146] noted: “…Prof. Huxley has had evolution under his care; Dr. P.T. Mason, anthropology, and Mr. E. Muybridge, animal locomotion. These are only a few of the names of men of science who have helped…”

(c) Kingston Museum

A reference work, Farm Live Stock of Great Britain by Robert Wallace (probably the 1893 edition), used six examples of the drawings from Funk & Wagnalls, from “advance sheets of the Standard Dictionary”, which was then still in preparation. Muybridge also “revised and corrected the letterpress”.

Thank you Nellie May Sawyer, for keeping the Dictionary safe for so many years, and thank you to David Prince for kindly supplying information provided in this post, and to Peta Cook and Jill Lamb of Kingston Museum and Heritage Service.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert