Monday, December 05, 2011
Subway Series #2 - Subway Zoetrope
Well, technically maybe it should be #1 -- I first posted this almost exactly 2 years ago, so if you think it looks familiar, that's why! However, that post was wrecked for some time, as I explained in Subway Series #1: "With my animation obsession, I naturally always get a kick out of watching it and one day I got a whim to share it here, so took my little Optio to work with me one day, worked past rush hour & then simply rode back & forth across the Manhattan Bridge, filming the zoetrope each time, until I got a decent shot. Just discovered that I'll have to redo that, I'd put that on Yahoo Video which I've JUST discovered is now entirely devoted to pet-food-manufacturer-subsidized cute animal videos - no more you-tube-esque user uploads & sharing, my video is gone & the 2008 Masstransiscope post just shows a black square. BOO! Can't find the original clip anywhere so I'll just have to redo it."
Well, I went to redo it tonight, but I didn't wait until late enough and I was tired (had to work on Saturday & be in early today), and I was running out of steam by the time I got a clear shot (need a window with no people sitting in front of it), and then the train stopped dead for a good half a minute right when we got to the zoetrope & then just crawled out. ARGH. Plus I'd set the camera to super-high quality which is an utter waste when filming on the subway - all you get is highly defined graininess. Bleah. I was too zonked to try again, though, so I figured I'd just go home & see if I could do anything with the one shot. I downloaded it and sure enough, it sucked, but somehow while I was working on trying to see if I could cut out at least some of the sitting-still part, I stumbled across the original video clips.
So once again, for your viewing pleasure, here is Masstransiscope, by Bill Brand.
Original 2008 post text:
Graffiti artwork animated by the movement of the subway train. Can be seen just before the Manhattan Bridge on Manhattan-bound N, Q & B trains. Not my art, I just pointed a camera at it while I rode past on the train. I like it 'cause it puts some fun into my morning commute!
I'd put this up on Yahoo Video earlier this week & since I seem to be indulging in a lot of New Yorky posts this week, this one fits right in.
It's funny, this giant zoetrope was actually originally installed in 1980. By the time I started riding this particular line, the animation panels had been completely covered in graffiti. I'd noticed the slits - it had occured to me that they resembled a zoetrope, but I didn't realize, until the sequential frames were restored & all the sudden one day I was looking out the subway car window & seeing bouncing balls & rocketships flying by, that it actually IS one!
For more information check out bbotics.com!
There's also a blog with a short circa-80's news piece about it from the - shows how he designed it (check it out, no computers, he actually built a big working model) & then he & the reporter actually go into the installation in the Myrtle Avenue subway station (abandoned but still down there, you sometimes hear those called "ghost stations"). You can see that here.