Saturday, January 28, 2006

Eadweard Muybridge; Studies in Motion

Last night we went to a play. This is remarkable for a couple of reasons. First we haven't been to a play in a while. Second we went to something that I had a pretty good grasp of the subject matter.

Eadweard Muybridge; Studies in Motion was on at UBC. It was mesmerizing. The stage production was incredible. The story was interesting and the subject matter -- for me anyway-- was relevant.

Eadweard Muybridge is one of the forefathers of biomechanics. Biomechanics has been my job, and my interest for quite a while now. Muybridge won a bet with Stanford that a horses hooves were in fact off the ground as a horse ran. He developed a series of cameras to be triggered as a horse ran past, and thus had photographic evidence of this. He then went on to "study" hundreds of animal and human behaviours using this photographic technique.

What made the play tolerable, or maybe even interesting, to those non-science types, was the fact that Muybridge was a bit of an eccentric and had a dark life.

The play's staging was absolutely fantastic. The actors were in positions in parts of the play where they actually represented the stop time action of the camera -- all in different positions. The sound track was haunting and wonderful.

If this production is picked up in your city you have to go. It is great. And now I'm even a bit fired up about work again.

Here are some links to Eadweard Muybrigde's work:
Temple University
National Museum of Natural History

And of course the festival that Studies in Motion was a part of, Push


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