Remember the animation devices of ancient times, such as the zoetrope, praxinoscope and phenakistoscope? No, of course you don't. Fortunately, we have artist and technician Richard Balzer, who has taken it upon himself to perform the necessary updates.
For more than 30 years, he has been dipping into cabinets of curiosity and combing through flea markets in order to find detailed drawings, diagrams and photographs from the old world and breathe new life into them through the popular gif image.
From an early fascination with the magic lantern, Balzer has accumulated a comprehensive collection of optic toys and illustrations. These forms of visual entertainment were originally developed as an attempt to better understand the functioning of the eye and the brain. Enthralled by the phenomenon of illusory movement, Balzer has spent the last five years curating a virtual museum, bringing the image-making magic of these devices to the web.
Peruse the catalogue and uncover innumerable psychedelic head-spinners, from galloping devils to backflipping knights in armour to monstrous faces swallowing and re-swallowing each other. Balzer's aim is simply to share his passion with as wide an audience as possible, whilst preserving and digitising an art archive on the verge of being forgotten.
Published on November 04, 2013 by Annie Murney