Homouroboros: Peter Hudson’s Burning Man Monkey Zoetrope
Peter Hudson is a Burning Man super star. Since 2000 he has been unveiling large scale zoetrope sculptures that drop viewers jaws, regardless of how many magic mushrooms they consume. The one shown above is titled Homouroboros and is my personal favorite. Now you’re going to ask, what the fuck is a zoetrope? So here is a brief explanation.
How it works:
The zoetrope is the third major optical toy, after the thaumatrope and phenakistoscope, that uses the persistence of motion principle to create an illusion of motion. It consists of a simple drum with an open top, supported on a central axis. A sequence of hand-drawn pictures on strips of paper are placed around the inner bottom of the drum. Slots are cut at equal distances around the outer surface of the drum, just above where the picture strips were to be positioned.
To create an illusion of motion, the drum is spun; the faster the rate of spin, the smoother the progression of images. A viewer can look through the wall of the zoetrope from any point around it, and see a rapid progression of images. Because of its design, more than one person could use the zoetrope at the same time.
Blah blah blah. Sounds good, and when you watch one of the old paper drawings spinning around, you think “oh that’s quaint.” Its a clever precursor to animation. But Homouroboros is different. when you are standing in the desert looking at three story metal monkeys swinging from from a tree, suddenly it’s not an antiquated gimmick anymore.
These videos speak for themselves.
- James “Jimi Jam” Jarvis
Photos courtesy of http://fuckyeahburningman.tumblr.com