A zoetrope, or "wheel of life,"
is an optical device that demonstrates a fascinating
physiological phenomenon called "persistence of vision."
This principle was first documented in 1820 by Peter Mark Roget.
The zoetrope was one of the most important discoveries leading
to the invention of motion pictures. When French inventor, Pierre
Desvignes, marketed the optical toy in Paris in 1865 it became
an overnight sensation. In America, toy magnate, Milton Bradley
began selling zoetropes in the late 1860s. The zoetropes' popular
appeal lasted until the introduction of real movies in 1895. Zoetropes
began to gather dust in Victorian attics and museum basements.
The zoetropes mechanics are refreshingly
simple. The drum with 12 equally spaced slips is mounted
on a hub which allows the drum to spin. A strip containing a series
of progressively changing images is coiled around the inside of
the drum. When the drum is spun, the viewer looks through the
slits and sees the images magically come to life.
With "Moving Pictures", we reinvent
the zoetrope as the featured art element in the Downtown
Paseos.The base of the zoetropes is mounted to a stand which is
bolted to the street. Each stand and each zoetrope is unique.
The stands are clad with stone, brick, wood, tile or metal to
accentuate the surrounding architecture and reference the particular
nuances of each location.
The concept of the zoetrope is especially
significant to Culver City because it combines
a sense of history and the origins of cinema. The zoetropes
celebrate the past and create a link to the Downtown Plaza