Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Cave paintings were Stone Age animations

REPOST FROM:

http://kottke.org/12/09/cave-paintings-were-stone-age-animations

Archaeologist Marc Azéma thinks that Stone Age artists may have fashioned their cave paintings in such a way as to suggest movement, crude movies that came to life as the flickering light from a fire danced on the walls.


Not only that, Paleolithic artists may have also have invented the thaumatrope thousands of years before the Victorians in the 1800s.
  • Consisting of a card or disk with different designs on either side, the device demonstrates the persistence of vision: When the card or disk is twirled, the designs appear to blend into one.
  • Rivère discovered that Paleolithic artists used similar optical toys well in advance of their 19th-century descendants.
  • The artist examined Magdalenian bone discs -- objects found in the Pyrenees, the north of Spain and the Dordogne, which measure about 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • Often pierced in their center, the discs have been generally interpreted as buttons or pendants.
  • "Given that some are decorated on both sides with animals shown in different positions, we realized that another type of use, relating to sequential animation, was possible," the researchers said.
  • They mentioned one of the most convincing cases, a bone disc found in 1868 in the Dordogne. On one side, the disc features a standing doe or a chamois. On the other side, the animal is lying down.
  • Azéma and Rivère discovered if a string was threaded through the central hole and then stretched tight to make the disc rotate about its lateral axis, the result was a superimposition of the two pictures on the retina.
Incredible that moviemaking is tens of thousands of years old instead of just a couple hundred.