Session 11: Thom Andersen Shorts

Olivia’s Place, Thom Andersen, 1966/1974, USA, 6 minutes + Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, Thom Andersen, 1975, USA, 59 minutes

Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (film still), 1975 by Thom Andersen. Courtesy and copyright the artist.


Film screening and discussion
Saturday 28 March 2016, 1.00 – 4.00 pm, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1 [Map]
Free event


One of Thom Andersen’s first films, a portrait of Olivia’s Place, a diner long gone, filmed just a few years before it disappeared.

“On Sunday, January 16, 1966, we shot 200 ft. of 16mm Kodak Ektachrome MS film, type 7256, at Olivia’s Place, 2618 Main Street, Santa Monica, California. We shot with a static camera, mounted on a tripod, using only available light. A recording of “There is something on your mind” by Big Jay McNeely and his band, with vocal by Little Sonny, was on the jukebox then. The Harlem Globetrotters and Tokyo Joe, starring Humphrey Bogart, were on TV that afternoon.” (Thom Andersen, John Moore)

Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, Thom Andersen, 1975, USA, 59 minutes

A fascinating investigation into the work of photographer and cinema pioneer Eadweard Muybridge, Thom Andersen’s much-lauded documentary incorporates a biographical overview of its subject with a re-animation of his historic sequential photographs as well as concise and innovative analysis.

Newly restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer discusses Muybridge’s early experiments in 3-D stereoscopic photography as well as providing background information on his subjects. Assisted by filmmaker Morgan Fisher, Andersen re-photographed and then animated more than 3,000 of Muybridge’s sequential images, giving new life to the experiments in recording motion while analysing their aesthetic value and their impact on science and the creation of cinema.

Narrated by Dean Stockwell, and displaying a wide-ranging intellectual curiosity that brings together art history, sociology, and psychoanalysis, Andersen’s documentary is that rare feat of filmmaking as film criticism, a thoroughgoing investigation into cinema’s primordial years that connects the medium’s invention to the broader history of Western representation.

After the screening, Thom Andersen will be in conversation with Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Group.

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