Unreal Nature

October 19, 2016

Inventive Fractures

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:34 am

… Contemporary culture has, engrained deep within it, an infinity of responses to Muybridge’s images of bodies in motion …

This is from Muybridge: The Eye in Motion by Stephen Barber (2012):

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

… Such inspirations are rarely a response to an exposure to Muybridge’s work in its totality, since that work is profligately vast and expansive, wilfully so, and many of its traces are scattered across archival collections. More often, as with Bacon’s approach (with Muybridge’s images torn from the catalogues or albums of his work and affixed to the studio walls or trodden underfoot), it is an exposure to isolated images or sequences drawn out of more extensive works.

[line break added] Contemporary culture has, engrained deep within it, an infinity of responses to Muybridge’s images of bodies in motion from more than a century’s exposure to that work: responses endlessly amended and transformed, and inflected by that contact with flashes or shards of images. In the future, whenever all of the traces of Muybridge’s work — such as his Scrapbook — are digitized and immediately accessible that body of work will necessarily generate other, unforeseen dimensions of response in visual culture and beyond.

[line break added] But Muybridge’s work also presents a profound challenge to digitization and to the pervasive spectatorial ‘ease’ of viewing since it always resistantly exceeds the medium that surrounds it and demands that the medium itself be overhauled, destabilized, reworked, or returned to zero, in order to hold and project that work.

Muybridge_zoopraxiscope
Muybridge’s zoopraxoscope

… In many ways, Muybridge’s work forms a set of inventive fractures, rather than an accumulation of linear consolidations, and those formative moments of fracture, in which existing media are abruptly engulfed or reconceived, leave their traces in the archival memory of his work, above all in his Scrapbook: memories of immediacies and instants often of creative exhilaration that interrogate the future far more than the past.

-Julie

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