VOX — Centre de l’image contemporaine

Eadweard J. Muybridge

Between 1877 and 1879 Muybridge famously set out to prove the notion that all four of a galloping horse’s hooves are sometimes aloft. With help from engineers, he developed a system of multiple cameras that could “dissect” a horse’s movements at full gallop. His invention, chronophotography, gave us a new tool for the study of human and animal locomotion in enabling movements to be broken down and fixed as individual, sequential images. Beginning in 1884, Muybridge, by then employed at the University of Pennsylvania, took thousands of such pictures of people and animals, his subjects tripping shutters on a bank of cameras one after the other. The motion thus captured is minimal, sometimes difficult to perceive—a rift in the temporal logic of the actions that unfolded. The twelve plates brought together here—loaned by the Musée d’art de Joliette—were part of this vast undertaking, entitled Animal Locomotion.