Tania Dolvers' project, ZOETROPE examines the relationship between still and moving image through the optical illusion of the zoetrope, or âwheel of life;' a mechanical device that produces an illusion of action from a rapid succession of static pictures. Inspired by Eadweard Muybridge's pioneering photographs of motion as well as Victorian optical toys, the work explores our preoccupation with the illusion of animation. Referencing Victorian death portraiture and early attempts to capture the supernatural, these ghostly images of the dancing actress Niamh McGrady play upon our nostalgia for the maverick years of moving image. The imagery is reminiscent of early silent film, especially Gothic horrors such as Nosferatu. By choreographing a series of dances similar to the work of legendary Isadora Duncan, Edwardian screen actresses and silent film stars such as Louise Brooks, the prints and animations takes us on a sentimental journey into the past.
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