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

 

 

Rumpus in Kingston

Nude beginnings: Riverside Kingston development to pay tribute to Kingston photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge

5:00am Friday 24th January 2014 in News By Ross Logan, Chief Reporter [YourLocalGuardian.co.uk]

Images taken by Eadweard Muybridge could soon be a familiar site along Kingston riverside.

riverside

The Riverside Kingston development this week. Muybridge’s images will be seen on the large white panel to the right of the picture

Artistic images of women posing nude for legendary photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge could soon become a familiar sight along Kingston’s riverside.

The company behind the new Riverside Kingston restaurant development, next to Kingston Bridge, has announced bold plans to commemorate one of the town’s most famous sons by emblazoning its building with stills from his Human Figures in Motion project, carried out in the mid 1880s.

The oversized black and white photographs would greet visitors coming into town from Richmond over Kingston Bridge, as well as those travelling along the Thames.

phonehttp://www.kingstontour.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/photographs/phone-boxes.html

Developers Canadian and Portland Estates hope that in time, the projection will become as recognisable a landmark as David Mach’s Out Of Order phone box sculpture in Old London Road.

Kingston-born Eadweard Muybridge broke new ground in photography

Greg Miles, head of promotions and animation at Canadian and Portland Estates, said: “Eadweard Muybridge was born and died in Kingston and became a pioneer of photography and the moving image.

“His work is internationally recognised and contributed hugely towards the development of film, which has a vast influence over our lives.

“Kingston owns one of the world’s largest collections of Muybridge’s images and we believe this is something Kingston should celebrate and we wanted to honour the beauty and importance of his work on our building.”

Phase one of Riverside Kingston is due to open in April, bringing five popular restaurant chains to the town for the first time – Cote, Busaba Eathai, CAU, Comptoir Libanais and Bill’s.

Muybridge is credited with revolutionising still photography through his famous motion sequence technique, which paved the way for motion pictures.

Despite the cultural nod to Kingston’s heritage, Kingston Society chairman Jennifer Butterworth was not impressed by the proposal to beam his work across the Thames.

She said: “What is being proposed will only make bad worse.

“It doesn’t matter if the ladies are nude or not.

“We objected to the Riverside sign [on top of the building] and we object to anything more making this site look like a cinema show.”

[end of article]

** So, several years after a major retrospective of Muybridge’s images graced the walls of the Tate Britain art gallery, his photographs are still objected to on the grounds that they represent a “cinema show”. Not only are we still fighting the prejudices against film as art, we’re back to the 1970s struggle to have photography recognized as art. It might not be appropriate to have these pictures on the site suggested, but the objectors will need to come up with some better reasons for rejecting the internationally renowned work of Kingston’s famous son.

Stephen Herbert

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/10959924.Nude_beginnings__Riverside_Kingston_development_to_pay_tribute_to_Kingston_
photography_pioneer_Eadweard_Muybridge/

Early Popular Visual Culture

repv20.v011.i01.cover-1

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.

muybridge6

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

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