The following are examples
of contemporary artists working with the same principles of William
Horner's 1834 invention, the Zoetrope, which gave rise to the illusion
of movement through the presentation of sequential static images.
In both these examples,
the artists have created a 3 dimensional Zoetropes and have used
strobe lighting as a substitute of viewing slits which acts as a
kind of shutter that synchronises with the spinning platform. Gregory
Barsamian's work, 'Juggler' is life-sized.
Stratum II" (1985) - a three-dimensional zoetrope sculpture
by Toshio Iwai, exhibited at the Hiroshima Animation Festival.
a pyramid-like structure, 120 little paper dolls of the artist
wearing a TV head were mounted on a disc three feet in diameter,
surrounding a reflective silver ball. These dolls gyrated,
moved in and away from each other, turned, and rotated. It
was like a crowded dance floor of choreographed clones.
"All of my work begins with animation and never strays too far from
it. I started making these simple flipbooks when I was in about fourth
grade. The margins of all my elementary school textbooks were filled
with these. This is where my work begins. The excitement I got from
making these animations has never disappeared - that and the fact
that these are personal media, things you can carry around and look
"Movement is still my greatest interest. I believe movement itself
is a communicative language, and I'm trying to use it that way. If
we see an interesting type of motion, say, a flock of birds turning
in coordination, we often get involved in what it is that's moving
- birds, in this case. But even if it were not birds, but just dots
on a screen or something else equally abstract, we can still be totally
engaged by it."
From an interview with Toshio Iwai by Azby Brown,
"Juggler" (1997) Gregory Barsamian
ICC Collection, Japan
In his work, 'Juggler', life-size wire mesh figures of an acrobat
single-mindedly juggles with a telephone receiver that in the air
transforms into a nursing bottle, milk, a dice, and a bone, before
gliding down on a parachute back into the juggler's hand.
The sensation of movement is achieved by arranging several figures
and objects in suitable sequential positions around a rotating cylindrical
construction and using flashing strobe lights. Making visible things
that don't exist, the overlapping of time and space creates an illusion
of the juggler breaking free from the construction he is attached
to. Barsamian explores aspects of expectation and conflict between
man and machine - a central theme in the artist's work.
and Other References - The Modern Zoetrope:
The Trace of Toshio
Iwai's Media Art:
Profile of Toshio
Iwai, Media Artist:
The Works of Toshio Iwai:
A Visit and Interview
with Toshio Iwai:
ICC - the 'Juggler'
Gregory Barsamian -
the work and artist's