Research point 1: Rebecca Solnit ‘Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadward Muybridge’

I was not able to find a copy of Rebecca Solnit’s book, either in English or translated, so I looked for what I could find on this subject on the Internet and I came up with two reviews of her book which I think it’s better than nothing to get a first understanding of what the book deals with.

The first is a review from The Guardian (2003): ‘Pictures of a revolution – Motion Studies, Rebecca Solnit’s attempt to put Eadweard Muybridge at the centre of 19th century perception of time and space’ by Liz Jobey.


(Accessed 15/05/2017).

The book links Muybridge’s photographic studies of animal and human locomotion to other fundamental inventions of the 19th century ‘that altered human perception of time and space, in particular the railway and the telegraph’ thus placing him at the core of the technological revolution and shows how his locomotion studies have been used by scientists, anthropologists and artists as ‘an encyclopaedia of positions, both human and animal, a source-book of photographs for artists that had little or no pretension to being art’.

Then, ‘in the 1880s and early 1890s, towards the end of his life, he demonstrated his locomotion studies as moving sequences, and this placed him among the pioneers of cinema’.

The second review is from The Times Literary Supplement (2017): ‘Perpetual Motion’ by Benjamin Markovits, first published in the TLS in 2003 when the book came out.

At: (Accessed 15/05/2017).

Citing directly from the book it says that Muybridge “had captured aspects of motion whose speed had made them as invisible as the moons of Jupiter before the telescope, and he had found a way to set them back in motion. It was as though he had grasped time itself, made it stand still, and then made it run again, over and over”.

According to this review ‘Muybridge played a part in what Solnit considers the three dominant technologies of our time: transport, through his connection to the railroad baron Stanford; movies, for obvious reasons; and computers, which sprang up in what became known as Silicon Valley, in the same brave new landscape that inspired Muybridge.’


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