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Flip book experiment

After the proposition of my last entry – that when presented with a flip book, children will take to the task of creating a short animation – I decided to do just that.

Luckily for me, my mum works in an all-girls primary school as an art teacher and coincidentally, she is teaching her year 6 class all about motion and how motion is depicted in artwork. I gave her the task of getting her class to answer some questions about animation and then, making a flip book of their own, each about 10-20 frames long, using my ‘tentacle’ flip book as an example. The questions were:

What is Animation?

Can you give examples of animation?

How do you think animation is made?

Have you ever made an animation?

What is animation?
Can you give examples of animation?
How do you think animation is made?

The answers that were most interesting regarded how animation is made, as I had primarily thought that maybe it wasnt so clear, but many of these answers proved me wrong. It seems as though these children understand the process of taking images one after the other then piecing them together to make something move, as we can gather from answers like ‘Animation is made from taking lots and lots of pictures that slowly moves on each picture that you take’. A question, maybe to ask myself; why is animation made?

What was the original need for it? I suppose it derives from the need to capture movement which was bought about by legends such as Eadweard Muybridge who set out to discover whether ‘at some point in its gallop, a running horse lifts all four hooves off the ground at once’. The purpose then, was to deconstruct movement as a means of scientific enquiry, whereas now, it feels as though it is used for entertainment, and art, which to me is no bad thing. Others may say however, that this once interestingly technological find has become exploited by people as. means to making money and that the art has become lost in popular culture. In essence, we have become less likely to probe questions about movement and motion and are now more likely to use this form of technology as cheap and mass produced entertainment.

Maybe when Muybridge uncovered the true movement behind a horse’s gallop, he felt more advanced compared to other humans as he was able to slow down such a fast paced action, and truly understand the way in which it works. Maybe he felt more advanced as he knew nobody else would notice it.

However, maybe now, the average person feels less advanced as they are not really able to uncover the truth behind moving image as it comes at us so quickly and all the time. Because there’s so much media, and a lot of it constructed by humans and not nature, we have begun to lose track of reality and live our lives at such a fast pace, trying to keep up with everything that is being thrown at us. The creations of Muybridge was essentially an ‘extension’ of Muybridge’s eyes as through this piece of technology, he was able to see more than what he originally could’ve without it. Maybe now this extension has become a form of reversal (in line with McLuhan’s laws of media) as it has lost it’s purpose and now does the opposite of what it did originally.


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