The Strobotop Lightphase Animator
High up on the Bioscope’s list of essential blogs is Muy Blog, Stephen Herbert’s blog on all things to do with Eadweard Muybridge. Those of you who might think that too narrow a theme for their tastes really should take a look, because Muybridge’s many interests in visual media and technology, and the profound influence that he continues to have on artists, designers and filmmakers, make Muy Blog desirable for anyone enthused by visual invention.
As a particular case in point, do check out Herbert’s latest post on Rufus Butler Seder and the Strobotop. Seder, you may remember, is the author of Gallop!, a children’s book employing ingenious visual trickery which makes animals move (see earlier Bioscope post). The huge success of Gallop! has led to Swing!, Waddle!, and now the Strobotop.
Herbert says that Seder “brings the wonder of 19th-century philosophical toys into the 21st century.” The Strobotop – or Strobotop LightPhase Animator, to give it its full name – takes the idea of the Victorian optical toy, the Phenakistiscope (successive images on a disk viewed through a slot), and adapted for today by means of a pulsating light. See the video above for the Strobotop in action, and read the Muy Blog post for a description of how it works and how ingeniously it reimagines a Victorian means of recreating motion.
Seder is a filmmaker, inventor, designer, artist, muralist and author. Herbert has an essay on Google Docs, The Optically Animated Artwork of Rufus Butler Seder, which is a fascinating acount of an abundantly creative person who finds his inspiration in Victorian optical toys, the sequence photography of Muybridge and his contemporaries, and cinema’s prime magician, Georges Méliès. You can find out more about Seder and his work from his website, Eye Think, or you can meet the man here: