Wk03 - Chronophotography

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Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by glegrady » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:12 pm

Steve Mamber, who is a UCLA Film Professor comments on the relationship between Marey's work and digital photography in this week's article. Select a passage in the article and relate what is said to some of the artists covered in this week's artistic examples.
George Legrady

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Wk03 - Hannah Boydstun

Post by hcboydstun » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:31 pm

Hannah Boydstun
October 10, 2012

“One can say that digital media have blurred the line between work and play, between science and art, between product and process”

In the case of Etienne-Jules Marey, his interest and fascination in both science and art integrated into the formation of beginning of film, and more importantly, the beginning of digital media.

Marey’s obsession with movement allowed his work to be multifaceted: not only focusing on the science behind movement, but how these finding could find their niche within the art realm. His progression toward bridging a gap between science and art not only allowed scientific processes to be evaluated on a creative level, but also allowed for the development of a new type of visual perception. By this, I mean to say that Marey opened the door for future thinkers and theorists alike to harmonize between life’s inconspicuous natural processes and what we can see with the naked eye. For instance, Marey was foremost interested in the movement of objects, which after time, led to his interest in how to represent ‘change’ in general. Playing with these ideas, Marey innovated a machine for ‘automatically registering movement’ that would record not only what could be considered pre-cinema, but also recorded the pattern variations of a moving object.

Sixty-Seven years after Marey published his finding in a book titled Le Mouvement, Bernice Abbot began her own studies of movement using her skills as a black and white photographer. For the beginning of her career, Abbott's photography was used to demonstrate population and technological growth within Ney York City. Thus, it was this interest in the notion of ‘urban innovation’ that led her to combine the subjects of science and art. Her piece entitled Bouncing ball in diminishing arcs illustrates the same pattern of movement that was compelling to Marey more than a half century earlier. More so, Abbott followed in the earlier footsteps of Marey by pursuing her own endeavors toward a scientific-artistic union. These projects included a distortion easel, used to create Photoshop-like effects in a darkroom, and autopole, to which lighting can be placed at a number of ‘levels.’

Likewise, this congenial relationship between art and science can be seen yet again in the works of Eadward Muybridge. Beginning in 1867, Muybridge began his career as a photographer and quickly began expanding his knowledge of the processes behind the art of photography. Through his studies of the medium, Muybridge began experimenting with time-lapse photography as the San Francisco mint was being built, and more so, developed a 360-degree panoramic camera. Here, it is evident how Muybridge’s studies of the process of photography (i.e. experimenting with the composition, angles, and boundaries of his photography skills) were the forefront in his creation of these new products. Yet, his greatest contribution, both to the art and scientific world, was his study of a horse galloping. Up until this point time, movements such as a horse gallop were too quick for the human eye to critically analyze. Thus, Muybridge’s work was used as scientific evidence that all four legs of the horse are suspended in the air at one moment in time.

As demonstrated by all three artists, these innovate approaches to problem solving proved that science and art were in fact part of the same process: The artists challenged scientific phenomena by providing visual aides that could be analyzed. More so, the data recorded could then be artistically interpreted and displayed in a way the viewer could understand. In short, these artists discovered that the realms art and science could be called upon simultaneously in order to problem-solve. Today, this field of study is called Digital Media.

http://arts.mit.edu/news/attachment/a-b ... hing-arcs/
"Marey, the Analytic, the Digital", Steve Mamber

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Re: Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by erikshalat » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:11 pm

Etienne-Jules Marey was a pioneering scientist (some would say artist) who was among the first to capture real motion in images. Marey’s experiments have been revolutionary in the field of kinetics, or movement. For example, before Marey, it was debated whether or not a horse lifted all of its legs off the ground mid-stride, the answer now know is that yes it does. Many of his photographs dealt with long exposure time, revealing paths of movement in a single figure. For example, Marey gave a man a suit to wear that had been adorned with white dots. Taking a photograph of the man walking with a long exposure time revealed the path of these dots in the air, and by extension the path of a man moving. The walking cycle made a wave pattern in the air. The head and body would bob up and down, peaking and declining over and over again.
Waves are a curved form that go up and down. At the peak is the “crest” and and the lowest point is the “trough”. Waves are found all around us, both visibly and invisibly. We may think of waves in the ocean, which follow the same idea, but there are also radio waves and waves of light that bounce off everything we see. This wave pattern would influence several other artists of the 20th century and beyond.
Perhaps the most influential and important artist of the 20th century was Marcel Duchamp, a french artist who was one of the leading figures in the dadist and surrealist art movements. His first work that sparked controversy (which would lead to his rise in popularity then on) was called “Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2”. This painting depicted the figure of a nude woman descending a staircase, but from every conceivable angle at once and in a very flat cubist style. Though abstract, you can clearly make out vague shapes representing parts of human anatomy. The figure weaves up and down as it descends, in a wave-like pattern.
Duchamp was one of the first to suggest that art should not be about the aesthetic but about the conceptual. This is similarly related to Marey, who did not consider his works to be artworks. Ironically, they would later be put up in art museums. The idea of motion found in Duchamp’s art is also found in his contemporaries in the futurist art movement, who were obsessed with movement and technology.

http://www.mat.ucsb.edu/~g.legrady/acad ... Mamber.pdf
http://seagrant.uaf.edu/marine-ed/curri ... 7/wave.jpg

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Re: Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by kateedwards » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:15 pm

"Movement" as a word conjures up equally the artistic and the scientific. The dancer, the athlete, the beating heart, the gallops of a horse's hooves, the tracings of a figure through space—all can suggest a simultaneous desire to capture and to analyse. - Stephen Mamber, "Marey, the analytic, and the digital"

In Mamber's assessment of Etienne-Jules Marey's contributions to the development of digital media, the importance of seamlessly blending art and science together in order to create images which were both aesthetic as well as informative is stressed as a distinct skill which lead to Marey's critical role in the progression of the field. Marey's fascination with not merely freezing time but rather utilizing time and space as a way to capture phenomena previously unknown/unseen to the human eye allowed his work to bridge the gap between art simply for the sake of pleasure and science for the sake of knowledge; with his works, the two became a cohesive form of expression and gave the creation of an image new meaning. I found this excerpt from Mamber's article to be particularly moving (no pun intended) because it explicates the duality of the word movement in a way which perfectly encapsulates Marey's efforts. Everyday actions or human functions, when properly dissected and presented by the camera, can become beautiful sources of exploring how our bodies work and thrive. The ability to capture a dancer mid-leap or the human heart mid-beat is an incredibly impressive advancement and can enhance our understanding not only of ourselves but of the physical world around us.

Photo compilation of a still from "Seen" and Marey's photography

This quote is applicable to David Rokeby's piece "Seen," a 2002 video installation which demonstrates the trajectory motion of the people and pigeons moving about the Piazza San Marco in Venice. As the figures move, streams of color follow their motion, creating a flowing web of intersecting paths and highlighting the elapse of time as the people's position in space changes. The dynamic relationship between time and space reflects Rokeby's desire to both "capture and to analyse" as Mamber suggests. By tracing the paths of the moving people and birds, the video not only exhibits an ever changing scene most observers could only catch a glimpse of without the use of recording, but also allows Rokeby to use the data collected in the creation of his video as a model for human movement and variation. Each individual can be treated as a case study for how we walk, interact, and exist within our public environment, similar to Eadweard Muybridge's stills. However, Rokeby's work is more reflective of Marey's emphasis on the concept of change and movement within a certain context. What look like steady streams of color can actually be analyzed as distinct moments, as individual pieces of data which together become one image. Both Rokeby and Marey's work can be seen as demonstration of intervals of motion, as discrete moments in time which further our conception of our own mobility and evolution.


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Re: Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by crismali » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:50 pm

“Crucial to this method was his technique of mapping points and trajectories, so that what unfolds over time in an image is another form of the trace– a series of lines and points superimposed as it were, over the likeness of the body producing them, the superimposition becoming so dominant as to take on life as a pattern of representation of its own– patterns that would dominate the figures in works such as those by Duchamp which followed Marey’s manner of seeing.” –Steve Mamber

When it comes to studying movement, Etienne Jules Marey was one of the most influential of all contributors. He dissected the way movement takes place through time and space and studied this in a scientific, categorical manner. He is known for his stills, taken in a pre-cinema fashion, but more focused on science rather than entertainment.
Marey did many studies including on the flight of birds and movement of humans walking for example.

These photos, which reveal movement happening in a single still, were quite revolutionary in the manners of thinking about movement. Since Marey’s studies, many artists have been inspired to capture movement by using the fine arts.
A very famous example would be French, conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude descending the staircase no. 2”.
This painting exhibits motion yet on a still media.
The Italian Futurists who focused on speed and development, also used this idea of expressing motion through painting and sculpture. Some examples include Giacomo Balla and his masterful piece “Girl running on the Balcony”
and Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space”.
Marey and all of these artists and many more were curious about how movement happens through time and space, and later how to represent these ideas through art. In Steve Mamber’s article "Marey, the analytic, and the digital" he discusses the idea of compositing images of movement to suggest movement itself– that by mapping points and trajectories a decent study of motion can be made. And through these artists work, and subsequent eruption of cinema, it is obvious the impact Marey’s work has made.

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Re: Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by juliacurtis » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:51 pm

"'Movement' as a word conjures up equally the artistic and the scientific" (83). In his article, Marey, the analytic, and the digital, Stephen Mamber describes Etienne-Jules Marey as an artist-scientist of space time. He writes, "one quality Marey expressly valued is the central notion of the all-at-a-glance chart: the single image which brings out a complexe activity which would lie unobserved" 85). The shift from graph to chronograph stood for capturing "a series of subtle discrete variations of a single act."

While Marey's work regarding this concept lies more with the technological side of the spectrum, the Italian painter Giacomo Balla also addressed these discrete variations that convey movement. Balla, considered one of the founders of futurism lived from 1871-1958, and dedicated his career towards depicting movement. Along with other paintes around this time, this objective symbolized the movement forwards also seen in Marey's career.

Balla wanted to realize movement. Marey wanted to "develop tools to realize his ideas about how complex physical processes could be analyzed" (83). Both were set on more than a snapshot of a moment in time. They were both interested in a symbolic demonstration of the complexities of movement.

Balla's objective can be seen in his 1912 painting of the Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash.
dogleash.jpeg (5.62 KiB) Viewed 6826 times

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Re: Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by orourkeamber » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:25 pm

Amber O’Rourke

One that is able to merge scientific study with aesthetics truly has a gift. Whereas most people find themselves drawn to one or the other Etienne-Jules Marey was able to create, invent and make works of beauty all at the same time. Amazingly, Marey is able to artfully display his scientific research of movement. His invention of the chronographic gun began to solve the many mysteries of kinesics.

Marey’s studies were among the first to display “digital like” thinking. He showed his studies in stages rather than in an ongoing fluid motion in order to further analyze his experiments. Marey chose to use what is known as a “spinning illusion device” to bring his studies to life; however instead of showing the traditional flat image he created realistic 3d models resulting in what appeared to be a flying bird. The significant of this project is well described by Stephen Mamber in his article titled “Marey, the analytic, and the digital” when he writes, “The re-creating view through the slots would be the conformation of the soundness of the analysis, the chance to step back through the experiment, the laying of the proof.”

Finding new ways to create art and/or deeper understanding of movement through chorography is still of interest in modern times. Many sports photographers still use chorography to successfully depict the movement of their subjects. These types of photos allow the viewers to see what is happening more clearly because it can break down a movement that normally happens very quickly into stages. A gymnast’s trick might be too quick for the eye but when viewed in several over lapping frames one can better understand the trick in several stages.
chronophotographic photo2.jpg
(Yang Hak Seon, 2011 Olympic Gold Medalist)

chronophotographic photo 1.jpg
chronophotographic photo3.jpg
Lastly, something that I found amusing: Alexandre Dubosc creates films using what he refers to as “Caketropes”. Using the old concept of The Zoetrope he creates the illusion of movement on actual cakes. Showing once again that the exploration Marey started is still of interest for artistes today.

Caketrope #1: http://vimeo.com/42706538
Caketrope #2: http://vimeo.com/23854203

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Re: Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by pumhiran » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:08 am

“Just as considerations of cinema are too often restricted to the narrative fiction film, one can as well ask what does it mean to talk about the digital, especially at this still-early point in its development. I would treat digital media in a very literal sense, to say simply that which is processed in some manner by a computer…. one can say that digital media have blurred the line between work and play, between science and art, between product and process.” Stephen Mamber.

From my point of view, there is certainly a connection between science and art. What better way to illustrate the scientific explanation than through photographs or illustrations? Not only it allows for further discovery, but it also one of the best ways to spread out the information to those who does not understand thing with just texts.

Etienne-Jules Marey was another amazing scientist who brought out the connection between science and art. Marey’s study of movement is a series of photographs that collecting precise movement of human and animals. These photographs become data, which help Marey analyzes the movement pattern of species. Some people might say that Marey’s study lead to a concept of cinematography, which in fact does have a contribution to it. Modern scientists and artists can use today’s camera and video recorder to capture the movement much more precise and better quality than what Marey used in the late 19th century.

Since the passage I have chosen is discussing about the digital media, I would like to discuss about the GIF animation that has an idea of Marey’s study of movement. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, which is a file of short clip of still images repeating endlessly. GIF can be editing in thousand of ways, but the popular way for it is adding texts since GIF does not have any sound. Most of the time, GIF are use for entertaining (Otherwise, it can be use for various purposes). Those who have the access to computer can create any kind of GIF they want base on how much they know how to use GIF generator programs.

Image Image

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Re: Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by slpark » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:14 pm

"Marey didn't just measure. He developed a system of thought about how to reconcile the disparity between what we think we see and what could be verified, especially as it applies to events beyond unaided perception (the wings of insects, the blood in our veins). This system evolved to include graphical representations [...] of movement over time (chronophotographs). This is an arc of evolution, a continuum, not a series of jumps, a path itself to be traced."

Marey's interest in capturing sequences of movements paved the way to create viable images that captured all the things that the human eye was capable of discerning, as well as things that it was not. This quote was most relevant to artists Anton Giulio Bragaglia and Harold Eugene Edgerton. Both of these artists that we covered in lecture explored methods to capture quick and fleeting instances that would otherwise not be completely visible to the human eye.

The above images by Edgerton, for example, capture the exact moment when a bullet pierces through an apple or a card. By using a series of superfast flashes, he could compile images that do indeed capture the "graphical representations of movement over time," or a chronophotograph. Bragaglia used similar techniques to capture his images (pictured below).

Bragaglia's images, however, produce a slightly different effect then Edgerton's. Bragaglia's is more obviously composed of multiple exposures, whereas Edgerton's images end up looking like one composite image. This is where Bragaglia branches off into Futurism, a technique that he is known for. Futurism is common in a lot of Cubist paintings, such as in that of Balla, Duchamp, and modern cubist artist Mark Webster.
webster, cubist violinist (compare to bragaglia)

Today, people use the same techniques that have become and continue to be fine tuned to apply them to modern day life. This image for example:
is a shot over time of the arcade game Tempest. With this, one can trace the movements of the game and its player(s). On a more practical scale, Marey's chronophotography allows us to chart traffic, weather patterns, and human activity.

http://www.micsaund.com/2007/02/14/time ... ade-games/
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/bragaglia? ... 1329944150
http://blog.chinatravel.net/arts-entert ... films.html

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Re: Wk03 - Chronophotography

Post by rdouglas » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:32 pm

It's also important in itself that Marey saw photography more as a graphing technique than as a superior form of visual representation. The most brilliant component of Marey's use of photographic methods is that his chronophotographs are still a form of visual graphing, a mapping of data for analysis, and are not in themselves conceived or meant to be solely a scientific record. This alone would place him worlds away from the Lumière films, celebrated for being documents of motion and realism. Marey's chronophotographs are constructed to reveal the hidden, not to record the already visible.
Marey's desire to darken the line between his chronophotography and motion picture film preserved a unique form of visual graphing and chemical perception of the visual world that was nearly neglected by more realistic and documentary styles. If we are to qualify visual data from Marey's chronophotographs and from Lumière's first films, we can see that the raw scientific and motion-related data from Marey is much more specific than the large amounts of data from the motion picture. Marey's resulting data is not only more efficient to visually process, but from an artistic perspective it is more visually abstract, striking and subtracted from reality in a way that doesn't lead to the loss of crucial information.

The vibrational wave patterns of an iron pole are visualized in this chronophotograph by Marey.

Duchamp, with the assistance of Man Ray, made an optical experiment in January of 1920 that referenced the biological fact that the eye retains the image of an object or experience for a fraction of second after the object's disappearance. In this piece, named Rotary Glass Plates (Pricision Optics), Five painted glass plates are mounted and then spun around a metal axis which, when viewed at a distance of about one meter, appear to be a single circle. With Man Ray's experience in photography the two were able to effectively capture this phenomenon on photographic film. The resulting image is very akin to the chronophotographs of Marey and those of Muybridge, who also recorded the motion of people and animals.


Motion pictures of all time periods could be said to be three dimensional; the third demension being the additional element of time. Artists like Marey, Muybridge and even Duchamp, however, attempted to restrict the idea of motion to two dimensions. With long exposures and rapidly sequential photography, evidence of motion was clear and easy to analyze. In addition, the beauty and phenomenon of motion was no longer hidden beyond the limits of our vision.

http://www.mat.ucsb.edu/~g.legrady/acad ... Mamber.pdf

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