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  • A long time ago,

  • I was a professional animator.

  • (Music)

  • [Eric Dyer]

  • [Animator]

  • [Compositor]

  • And at night,

  • I would make my own experimental films.

  • (Music)

  • And I was spending a lot of time, way too much time, in front of a screen

  • for work that would be presented on a screen,

  • and I had this great need to get my hands back on the work again.

  • Now, before "The Simpsons,"

  • before "Gumby,"

  • before "Betty Boop,"

  • before there was such a thing as cinema and television,

  • animation was hugely popular in this form.

  • This is a zoetrope.

  • And you spin this drum,

  • and you look through the slits into the inside of the drum,

  • and you see the animation pop to life.

  • This is animation in physical form,

  • and it's animation I could get my hands on again.

  • I took these ideas to Denmark.

  • I went there with my family on a Fulbright Fellowship.

  • That's my daughter, Mia.

  • I rode around the city on my bicycle

  • and shot all the interesting moving elements of Copenhagen:

  • the boaters in the canals,

  • the colors that explode in spring,

  • the free-use city bikes,

  • love,

  • textures,

  • the healthy cuisine --

  • (Laughter)

  • And I brought all that video back into the physical world

  • by printing it out on these long strips of ink-jet paper

  • and cutting out the forms.

  • Now, I invented my own form of the zoetrope,

  • which removes the drum

  • and replaces the slits with a video camera.

  • And this was very exciting for me,

  • because it meant that I could make these physical objects,

  • and I could make films from those objects.

  • That's me riding on my bicycle.

  • (Laughter)

  • I made about 25 paper sculptures,

  • each the size of a bicycle wheel.

  • I brought them into the studio,

  • spun them

  • and shot them to make the film "Copenhagen Cycles."

  • (Music)

  • This project not only allowed me to get my hands back on the work again

  • but it helped me get my life back.

  • Instead of spending 12, 15 hours a day with my face plastered to a screen,

  • I was having these little adventures with our new family

  • and shooting video along the way,

  • and it was kind of a symbiosis of art and life.

  • And I think that it's no mistake

  • that zoetrope translates into "wheel of life."

  • (Music)

  • But film and video does flatten sculpture,

  • so I tried to imagine

  • a way that animated sculpture could be experienced as such,

  • and also a completely immersive kind of animated sculpture.

  • And that's where I came up with the idea for the zoetrope tunnel.

  • You walk through with a handheld strobe,

  • and wherever you point the flashlight,

  • the animation pops to life.

  • I plan to finish this project in the next 30 to 40 years.

  • (Laughter)

  • But I did build a half-scale prototype.

  • It's covered in Velcro,

  • and I could lay inside on this bridge

  • and stick animated sequences to the walls

  • and test stuff out.

  • People would comment that it reminded them of an MRI.

  • And that medical connection spoke to me,

  • because at the age of 14,

  • I was diagnosed with a degenerative retinal condition

  • that's slowly taking my vision away,

  • and I'd never responded to that in my work.

  • So I responded to it in this piece called, "Implant."

  • It is an imaginary, super-magnified medical device

  • that fits around the optic nerve.

  • And the public is, in a sense, miniaturized to experience it.

  • With a handheld strobe,

  • they can explore the sculpture,

  • and discover thousands of cell-sized robots

  • hard at work, leaping in and out of the optic nerve,

  • being deployed to the retina

  • to repair it.

  • It's my science fiction fantasy cure of my own incurable disorder.

  • (Machine buzzes)

  • Now, in the real-world gene therapy and gene therapy research,

  • healthy genes are being administered to unhealthy cells using viruses.

  • There's a lot of colorful, fluffy hope in this,

  • and there's also some creepy, threatening idea

  • of viruses maybe becoming an invasive species in your body.

  • Vision loss has helped to take me away from the things

  • that disconnect me from the world.

  • Instead of being sealed off in an automobile,

  • I ride my bike,

  • take buses and trains

  • and walk a lot.

  • And instead of a visually intensive process in the studio, primarily,

  • I'm also getting outdoors a lot more

  • and using more of my senses.

  • This landscape is a couple hours east of San Diego, California.

  • My brother lives out that way.

  • He and I went camping there for four days.

  • And I grabbed my camera,

  • and I walked through the canyons.

  • And I tried to imagine and figure out

  • what kind of motion would be present

  • in this place that was so still and so devoid of motion.

  • I think it's the stillest place I've ever been.

  • And I realized that it was the movement of my own body through the landscape

  • that was creating the animation.

  • It was the motion of changing perspective.

  • So I created this piece called "Mud Caves" from those photographs.

  • It's a multilayered print piece,

  • and you can think of it as a zoetrope laid flat.

  • It's kind of my western landscape panorama.

  • And next to the print piece there's a video monitor

  • that shows the animation hidden within the artwork.

  • I think one of the best parts about this project for me

  • was that I got to hang out with my brother a lot,

  • who lives 2,500 miles away from me.

  • And we would just sit in this seemingly eternal landscape

  • sculpted by water over millions of years

  • and talk.

  • We'd talk about our kids growing up

  • and the slowing pace of our parents,

  • and our dad who's suffering from leukemia, memory loss and infection.

  • And it struck me that, as individuals,

  • we're finite,

  • but as a family,

  • we are an ongoing cycle --

  • a kind of wheel of life.

  • Now, I want to leave you with a tribute to one of my mentors.

  • She reminds me that physical presence is important

  • and that play is not a luxury,

  • but a necessity.

  • She's Pixie,

  • and she's our family dog.

  • And she loves to jump.

  • (Dog barking)

  • (Dog barking and spring boinging)

  • And this is a new kind of zoetrope

  • that I developed at the Imaging Research Center

  • at UMBC in Baltimore.

  • And I call it a "real-time zoetrope."

  • (Dog barking)

  • (Dog barking and spring boinging)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

A long time ago,

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【TED】Eric Dyer: The forgotten art of the zoetrope (The forgotten art of the zoetrope | Eric Dyer)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/11/05
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