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Exhibition on early cinema and science of animal locomotion

Tracing Movement: Locomotion Study, Photography and the Emergence of Cinema

An exhibition curated by Michael Cowan
Presented at the Byre Theatre, within the 2019 St Andrews Photography Festival
October 4-31, 2019

Drawing on materials from St Andrews’ Special Collections, this exhibition examines how the science of animal locomotion helped to catalyse the emergence of high-speed photography and film. St Andrews was a centre for animal locomotion studies on account of the work of James Bell Pettigrew, and part of the exhibition is dedicated to uncovering Pettigrew’s forgotten links with cinematographic pioneers such as Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey. But the exhibition also expands thematically over four themed panels to consider the broader role of movement at stake in both the science and cinema of the early twentieth century, as well as their links to other artistic practices of the time. The exhibition showcases pages and plates from works by Pettigrew, Marey and Muybridge, as well as several excerpts from scientific and popular cinema of the early twentieth century. An accompanying brochure provides additional reflection on each of the themes covered.