Monthly Archives: August 2015

Zoopraxiscope

Video below …

When I was a kid I went to a private school for gifted kids, called Gibson School for the Gifted, in Dearborn, Michigan. It was modeled after the Sumerhill school in England and run democratically. Students were in control of their curriculum.


We called the teachers by their first names and decided for ourselves what we would do each day. We sat on cushions instead of at desks and each had our own stereo and headphones. I played my 8 track of the Bay City Rollers in mine most of the time. It was a long time ago, don’t judge.

Judy Greer, an actress who everyone has seen but no one remembers the name of, is the only “famous” alumni I can think of.

It was predicted I would become infamous, but that hasn’t happened … not yet.

Anyway, this school was special, unique, and awesome and nearly everything I love or am interested in or inspired by today, I discovered there. I think it’s a brilliant way to educate children, whether they’re gifted or not and all kids should be lucky enough to experience a joy in learning that profound.

Sadly, it closed a few years ago and the golden age of alternative education seems, unfortunately, to be dead. I will read something interesting, make something, or think outside the box every day because of its influence.

Probably had a little to do with why I decided to streak my hair purple the other day, although PMS seems to have also been a factor. But I digress. One of the things we explored in my time at this wonderful, magical school was film making. Back when film actually had to be developed, we had access to a 16MM camera. We also had a chance to try the thing that really intrigued me … animation. I’ve been fascinated with it ever since.

I’ve been playing with digital images lately. I love it. Images can be made almost as quickly as they are thought of …  and it seems to scratch a mental itch like nothing else can.

 
I was under a time limit to make prints for a local art fair and turned to Photoshop and digital … and am so happy with the process. It’s far more creative than I anticipated. It’s freeing in a way that I haven’t experienced with images much before. (Will have these in an Etsy shop soon, I think).

Tactile wise, it leaves a lot to be desired. There’s not much touching thngs or moving about. The creative action is all in the head and not in the body, which leaves something to be desired. But, as a mental exercise, it can’t be beat.

 
While looking through some old images for digital collage possibilities, I ran across these plates from a book on an old device from the late 1800s called the  Zoopraxiscope.

A Zoopraxiscope is “an early device for displaying motion pictures. Created by photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge in 1879, it may be considered the first movie projector.”

“The zoopraxiscope projected images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession to give the impression of motion.”

The disks look like record albums with images around the edges. It was cutting edge then and would have required an epic break with conventional thought and a huge creative leap by Muybridge. He may have fit in at Gibson, now that I think about it.

Anyway, I took a few of the Zoopraxiscope plates, fiddled with them in Photoshop, and made some images from them.

I took a few of the images, fiddled with them in Photoshop, and made some animations out of them. This is what happened …