Knit nag: famous ‘Horse in Motion’ revisited


A tribute to Eadweard Muybridge’s famous horse-in-motion photographic experiment has been created in knit by British artist and videosmith Sam Meech.

muybridge-knit1The Knitted Horse Firework is a knitted animation loop, created for the exhibition ‘Crystallize – New Media Art Lab Korea & UK’ last November, which featured artists from Korea and the UK, exploring how contemporary artwork is expressed through science, IT, social media and cinema.

Knitted Horse Firework is made from 28 stitches x 4878 rows, and shot in 272 frames, 11 seconds duration, 13 metres length.

It was developed as part of Meech’s Knitting Digital research project.

In 1878, the now iconic series of photographs by Muybridge instantly solved a long-standing mystery, proving that a horse’s four hooves do not touch the ground at all times during a gallop.

The images of Eadweard Muybridge taken alongside a racetrack marked the beginning of high-speed photography.

He extensively photographed the West, but it was his work in recording animal locomotion that earned him the most fame.

For the most challenging of the analyses, at a gallop, Muybridge placed numerous glass-plate cameras in a line along the side of a track, each triggered with a thread the horse had to run through.

In later studies he used a clockwork device to set off the shutters in sequence as the horse galloped past.

The image silhouettes were transferred on to a disc to be viewed in his zoopraxiscope, which he invented to display moving pictures.

The body of work became known as “The Horse in Motion” or “Sallie Gardner at a Gallop”, and it proved conclusively that at one point all four hooves were off the ground.

Eadweard J. Muybridge's The Horse in Motion (1878)
Animation of Eadweard J. Muybridge’s The Horse in Motion (1878)

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