Sequences, contemporary chronophotography


In the Furniture Works gallery, in London, opened Sequences, an exhibition that celebrates the art and history of chronophotography. Chronophotography was born in the end of the 19th century, mainly thanks to the works of étienne-Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge. It’s a photographic technique that uses a number of sequential pictures to represent and explore the idea of space, time, motion and its duration. To celebrate the spirit of the ancient chronophotography, fifteen contemporary artists expose their works. Among them are Tim Macmillan, a pioneer in the use of “bullet time”, one of the most advanced filming techniques used in “The Matrix”, Patrick Tarrant, with his work “Planet Usher”, an audiovisual archive made by his brother, who was born deaf and will become blind due to the effects of the Usher syndrome, and the work “Border”, by Darren Almond shows to an imaginary traveler two road signs with the word “Oswiecim” (the polish name of Auschwitz) written on them. Apart from contemporary works, the exhibition also shows historical works by Marey, Muybridge and other photographers of the past, as well as optical devices of the victorian era, such as the caleidoscope, the cinetoscope, the magical lantern and the stereoscopic camera. The visitors can also operate the reproductions of these devices, create strips and sequences of pictures and drawings, giving birth to their own works. The curator of this exhibition, Paul St. George, commented the event saying that, in the last century, chronophotography has developed following the path laid by cinema and that now it can emancipate from it, becoming popular again thanks to digital art and experimental photography. Undoubtedly, in the era of the media, having become free from the traditional concept of mimesis, the image is defined by its very immanence, just as some contemporary artists are rediscovering how much a new reflection of chronophotography can offer new starting points for the aesthetic exploration of the media, particularly on the subjective perception of time and space, and in those ‘studium’ and ‘punctum’ of a photo, the things that, according to Barthes, make it exist “simply… (for me)”.

Eleonora Calvelli