Animal Locomotion: Reanimating Muybridge’s 19th Century Illustrations with GIFs
The 19th century photographs by Eadweard Muybridge captured something that had previously been too fleeting for the human eye: the mechanics of animal locomotion.
In his 1893 book Descriptive Zoopraxography, or the Science of Animal Locomotion Made Popular, Muybridge described his most famous animal locomotion capture of a horse. The series of photographs aimed to settle a dispute over “the possibility of a horse having all of his feet free of contact with the ground at the same instant, while trotting, even at a high rate of speed.” The photographs revealed conclusively for the first time that a horse’s feet do indeed leave the ground all at once while in full gallop, the horse pulling its legs briefly underneath itself before sprinting forward.
Muybridge’s animal locomotion studies were a great success and he traveled around showing the horse and other creatures in motion through his “zoopaxiscope” that brought the series of frozen images to life in a sort of early stop motion movie projector. Collected in the Descriptive Zoopraxography book are some of these images, which were traced from his original photogravures. While you might not have a zoopaxiscope handy to reanimate the animals, we do have the magic of animated GIFs.
For many more of Muybridge’s dizzying GIFs, keep reading Animal Locomotion: Reanimating Muybridge’s 19th Century Illustrations with GIFs on Atlas Obscura…
so you’re telling me there’s an alien who regenerates into a completely random form, that he cannot control or determine himself, and who understandably could take millions of different appearances, but who all 13 times just turned into a different skinny white guy
oh my god i’m fucking sick of this generation’s mentality that your sadness is beautiful and somebody will fix you and all this fucking john green shit nobody will find you in a bookstore reading bukowski and want to lie with you and nobody will kiss your scars and you will not be like effie and freddie you’ve got to be your own fucking hero and surround yourself with positivity
Terrance Houle: Urban Indian Series (2004),
In a practice that ranges from performance to photography to film and video works, Blackfoot artist Terrance Houle remakes the troubled history of colonialism and First Nations identity with a roguish wit and punk-rock edge. His strategy matches self-deprecating humour with an uneasy undertone; the results cut away at both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal notions of an urban Indian status quo. In his Urban Indian Series (2004), Houle is pictured grocery shopping, working in an office cubicle and riding public transit—all in elaborate powwow regalia.
In the performance video Friend or Foe (2010–11), he plays off cultural and historical gaps in communication while dressed in a loincloth and communicating by sign language.