Sunday, October 18, 2009

Museum of the Moving Image

On September 22nd, I, along with some of my production classmates, took a tour of the Behind the Screen exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. While the exhibit provides interesting and informative stations detailing the different elements associated with television and motion picture production, the parts of the tour I found most interesting were the early development of moving images. Without these early experiments, we would not have the ever-expanding world of entertainment we take for granted.

Not surprisingly, it is a museum after all, we were able to see working examples of the thaumatrope, zoetrope, magic lantern and other items that we discussed in class with regards to the early experiments in moving images. The principles of what was required for our eyes to perceive a moving image were placed in a new context that made sense; our tour guide repeated the words light, speed and moment of rest several times during the tour. What intrigued me was the idea that these necessary items have not changed since the success of those early moving image experiments. For all the advances in technology, the mechanics of how things work remain the same.

The item that most fascinated me, however, was the Feral Fount. Located early in the tour, it is refered to on the museums website as a “stroboscopic zoetrope” and is comprised of 97 sculptures which can be viewed individually in normal light, but appear to move when a strobe light is turned on.

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