A lecture by Eadweard Muybridge, this Saturday

MuyInvite

 

http://www.othercinema.com/calendar/index.html

ANALOG CHURCH SAT 12/8: ROURKE + WOOD + KATELUS + RADIOPHONICS +
Indulging our love for forgotten formats and media archeology lore, Jeremy Rourke & Co. debut two live musical performances, The Biography of a Motion Picture Camera and The Paperman May Charleston. Ben Wood, in the apparel of none other than Eadweard Muybridge, affords us a charmed glimpse into those halcyon days of the Magic Lantern. Doug Katelus, as Hammond organist for the night, offers his 16mm Help Keep Film Dead, on the last days of Monaco Lab. Lori Varga, as high priestess for tonight’s “church,” powers up her 4 projectors in Beyond the Frames of Light and Strange Sound. PLUS Russ Forster with an in-person tribute to Bill Lear, inventor of the eponymous jet AND the 8-track tape! AND a half-hr cut of the BBC‘s Alchemists of Sound, on the UK Radiophonic Workshop, boasting Doctor Who composer Delia Derbyshire.*$7.

[Now that’s what I call a “mixed programme”.]

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Attitudes of Animals in Motion (1881) at Stanford Digital Repository

 

Recently added to the digital repository of Stanford University, is the rare album The Attitudes of Animals in Motion (1881).

If you don’t have the 2010 Taschen book that includes a version of this album, now’s your opportunity to see all of this hugely important work online. It comprises photographic sequences arranged from the results of Muybridge’s two working seasons at Leland Stanford’s Palo Alto farm.

 

 

http://lib.stanford.edu/special-collections-and-university-archives/muybridges-attitudes-animals-motion-1881-available-stanf

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Degas and ‘Picturing Movement’ at the Royal Academy

Your tardy blogger has finally been to see Degas and the Ballet. Picturing Movement, at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. A brief visit only, and I shall be returning for a more extensive tour – to learn more about Degas and enjoy his paintings, drawings and sculptures, and not just to admire the exhibits relating to chronophotography – before the show closes on 11 December.

An unrepeatable opportunity to see all of these Degas works, so do try to get to the exhibition if you can. First impressions then.

The catalogue, by Richard Kendall and Jill Devonyar is an attractive and engaging piece of research and presentation and great value (reduced to less than £15 at the time of my visit). Muybridge images used include the usual Zoopraxiscope colour photograph (with the top and chimney that don’t actually belong); the colour disc White and Black Running Race; a nice 1889 letter from Muybridge to Frederick A. Eaton of the RA, concerning Muybridge’s forthcoming lectures there; and a single image from ‘Annie G. in Canter’ (Animal Locomotion plate 621) together with an exact copy in chalk by Degas. Many images relating to Marey’s work are also included. The text concerning the relationships between the work of Marey, Muybridge, and Degas is carefully researched and well written and very interesting to read; and of permanent value.

White and Black Race (Zoopraxiscope disc)

The exhibition is spread through several rooms and wasn’t crowded during my visit. There’s a great deal of material concerning the relationship between Degas and photography in general, as well as chronophotography. Most of the Muybridge material relates to aspects of dance postures. One of Marey’s large chrono plate cameras sits in a rather gloomy cabinet in one corner, failing to look interesting. The Zoopraxiscope is better presented, but in a context that raises some questions. In the same cabinet is one picture disc, the 1893 Athletes Running (White and Black Running Race); two athletes, one white and one black, compete in a track race, with a large audience of matchstick figures in the background. This disc is one of the series of drawings based on Muybridge photo sequences combined with imaginary elements – in this case the people watching the race. On the wall above the machine is a large video projection; an animation of a Muybridge sequence of a male athlete performing a ballet-related movement, taken from an Animal Locomotion reproduction of the actual photographic images. Judging from the overheard discussions of those examining this exhibit, visitors are understandably confused. The animation that they’re watching doesn’t appear to have anything in common with the images on the displayed picture disc.

First Ballet Action (from Animal Locomotion)

Of course it’s tempting to animate the Animal Locomotion sequences as the result is very seductive, but it seems to me that this particular exhibit should have had, instead, an accompanying video of a disc animation – perhaps the popular subject Woman Dancing [Kingston EM0052] which is probably the most relevant to the exhibition’s subject – to bring some point to the display of the Zoopraxiscope. The exhibition curators have missed an important trick here, since the animated disc images would have made apparent to the visitor a lesser-known aspect of Muybridge’s work that relates directly to drawing and painting, surely of interest in an exhibition about Degas and movement. The catalogue touches on the production methods of the actual disc pictures and gets it nearly right, so it’s difficult to understand how this misleading display option was decided upon. And since the name of the artist, Irwin Faber, who interpreted and drew these extrapolations from Muybridge sequences is known, that name should have been there too. It seems that there’s still some way to go before art historians apply their usually very meticulous discipline in presenting accounts of technical processes and artist attribution, to peripheral subjects such as Zoopraxography. But there was a certain satisfaction in seeing the Zoopraxiscope back at the RA, after almost 130 years.

More on the exhibition, with less harping on about my own view of its very few shortcomings, soon.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

(White and Black Race Running Race photo courtesy Kingston Museum)

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.)

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

Animal Locomotion at USC

Animal Locomotion, the collection of 781 collotype plates of Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic work at the University of Pennsylvania first published in 1887 has achieved significant exposure during the past year or so, with the various major exhibitions, smaller displays such as Muybridge’s Revolver (more about that soon), and publication of the huge Taschen book.

There has been a growing presence on the web, too. The University of Southern California has a large number – around 700 – accessible to view as complete plates, or individual images. Animations of each sequence may be seen too. Where the plate comprises more than one sequence; that is, two actions, or one action photographed from different angles, each part is animated separately (just scroll down the individual pictures at left to find the animations). This is any easy way to view the subjects in motion, and the largest collection of such animations on the web – though it’s worth remembering that Muybridge’s audiences didn’t see these photographic images in this way. Although the plates are not in any particular order, the search box will find what you are looking for: e.g. Muybridge cricket. A very useful addition to web-based Muybridge work.

http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/search/controller/index.htm

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

The Horse in Motion – Abe Edgington boudoir print at auction

A rare example of one of the six boudoir prints entitled The Horse in Motion, published in 1878 in San Francisco by the Morse Gallery, is to be auctioned online by Be.Hold – ending 22 September.  From the online auction catalogue for the ‘Collectors’ Joy’ sale:

‘It shows 6 images of  Leland Stanford’s “Abe Edgington.”  There is extensive text on the recto and verso about Muybridge’s work with the “Electro-Photographic Apparatus” as well as advertising of his awards. He announces “Arrangements made for Photographing and Recording the action of Animals in motion, in any part of the World.” This is a rare object. It is in fine undamaged condition, with only the slightest sign of aging.’

http://www.artfact.com/catalog/searchLots.cfm?scp=u&catalogRef=&shw=50&ord=2&ad=ASC&img=0&alF=1&houseRef=&houseLetter=A&artistRef=&areaID=&countryID=&regionID=&stateID=&fdt=0&tdt=0&fr=0&to=0&wa=muybridge&wp=&wo=&nw=&upcoming=0&rp=&hi=&rem=FALSE&cs=0

Suggested bid at present: 1,100 dollars.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert