27th November 2004 - 23rd January 2005 Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

Post-cinema and pre-cinema: the relationship between contemporary digital art and 19th Century optical devices.

“Sequences” is a new touring exhibition produced by peterborough digital arts

The Sequences exhibition will show contemporary work that uses sequences of images to explore ideas of space, time, movement and duration. Marey and other chronophotographers first explored these ideas at the turn of the nineteenth century. 2004 marks the centenary of Marey’s death. In those 100 years chronophotography has been in the shadow of cinema, but now it is emerging once again in post cinema practices, digital art and new experimental photography. Artists have found that sequences of images offer new opportunities for exploring the timeless issues such as subjectivity, the subject’s experience of time and space and the aesthetics that operate at the intersection of time and space.

Alongside work - including three newly commissioned works - by 15 international artists will be shown historical works of chronophotography and some of the artefacts that produced the works. 2004 is the centenary of the death of Étienne-Jules Marey, one of the pioneers of chronophotography, and his works will be shown alongside works by his contemporaries; Louis and Auguste Lumiere, Muybridge and Reynaud. Works displayed will include Kaleidoscope, Kinetoscope, Magic Lantern, Mutoscope, Panorama, Phantasmagoria, Phenakistiscope, Praxinoscope, Stereoscopic Cameras, Thaumatrope, Zeotrope and Zoopraxinoscope.

New works specially commissioned for this exhibition are “Tondo” by Paul St George, ”Trådar” by Pia Jönsson and “Time piece” by Tess Glanville. The other contemporary artists participating are:

Andrea Polli (“On the fly”),
Andrew Davidhazy (“Shotgun blast”),
Tim Macmillan (“Bath Half Marathon”, “Jump”),
Babel (“Turnbaby”),
Björn Schulke (“Deception”),
Simon Lewandowski (“Mutoscope No 3”),
Darren Almond (“Border 1999”),
Patrick Tarrant (“Planet Usher”),
Rufus Butler Seder (“CineSpinner” )
Studiometis (“Kyoto”),
David Crawford (“Stop Motion”),
Martin Newth (“Motel”),

Alongside the exhibition two catalogues will be published, one of which will contain a series of academic essays, a symposium will also be held in the new-year. It is intended that the project will stimulate debate on two key questions: firstly, can we gain insights into the use of sequential images in contemporary art by re-examining chronophotography and pre-cinema? Secondly, do we gain a better understanding of chronophotography and pre-cinema by re-assessing their histories from a current perspective?

All images copyright Andrew Putler
Introduction to Sequences- Taken from the catalogue of the show:

Sequences is a national touring exhibition curated by Paul St George, produced by peterborough digital arts and supported by funding from Arts Council England.

peterborough digital arts is developing a reputation for excellence in commissioning and exhibiting new media art. It is our mission to commission artists and to programme exhibitions that exploit new media to stimulate and provoke new audiences. peterborough digital arts has been in existence for nearly two years now and has brought ground­breaking exhibitions such as “Freefall”, “Jump Jet” and “Re:Thinking:Time” to Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery. In this time, we have shown new media art from emerging and established local and international artists.

I am pleased to be introducing our latest exhibition to you. The ‘Sequences’ exhibition shows contemporary work that uses sequences of images to explore ideas of time, movement and duration. Paul St George, the curator of Sequences, has gained deep insights into this subject through his research into chronophotography and new media. This research has informed his own practice as an artist in which he uses many forms of new media to create sequential artwork.

The ‘Sequences’ exhibition has enabled us to extend our mission and to make connections between the Art Gallery and the Museum. In the museum we will show pre­cinematic Victorian optical devices loaned to us by the National Museum of Photography, Film & TV and the Bill Douglas Centre for History of Cinema and Popular Culture. The museum exhibition of early flick­books, Praxinoscope Théatres and Phenakistiscope disks and work by Reynaud, Muybridge and Marey takes place at the same time as cutting­edge contemporary art is shown in the gallery.

We hope this brings different audiences together and that the two parts of the exhibition will inform and critique each other. All the work in the exhibition is about time and the viewer’s interaction with time. To complete the exhibition we have commissioned a series of interactive exhibits. You are invited to create your own strips and disks of sequential images for use in a Zoetrope, a Phenakistiscope or a Praxinoscope and then exhibit them alongside the rest of the art works in the show. These devices, along with magic lanterns and shadow puppets, were the computer games of their age. They kept Victorian families entertained and educated for many an evening and we hope that they will do the same for you.

Giles Askham