NPR-Corcoran Muybridge Contest: And The Winners Are ... : The Picture Show NPR received nearly 400 submissions to our contest. A light sculpture and massive chain reaction are among the favorites.
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NPR-Corcoran Muybridge Contest: And The Winners Are ...

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NPR-Corcoran Muybridge Contest: And The Winners Are ...

NPR-Corcoran Muybridge Contest: And The Winners Are ...

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Melissa Block.

(Soundbite of falling dominos)

NORRIS: That's the sound of thousands of falling dominos knocking over a string of carefully stacked Popsicle sticks, blocks and plastic cups. Imagine the chain reactions you set up as a kid - but a hundred times bigger and more involved.

BLOCK: The creation is the second-place winner in NPR's Eadweard Muybridge Contest. In the 19th century, the English photographer developed new ways to freeze motion with his camera, and to project moving images. He's especially well-known for his sequence of a horse in motion.

A couple of months back, we invited you to submit your Muybridge-inspired art after we aired a piece about a Corcoran Gallery retrospective on the eccentric innovator.

NORRIS: We received hundreds of submissions inspired by this legendary innovator - sculptures, stop-motion videos and even a talking banana.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man: Do not approach a banana in a dark alley. They will attack you.

BLOCK: The chain-reaction video we heard earlier was created by Tim Fort of St. Paul, Minnesota.

NORRIS: Fort calls himself a professional kinetic artist.

Mr. TIM FORT (Artist): Sometimes, I modestly refer to myself as Lunatim Rex, the Kinetic King. Other times, I'm a destructural engineer. It's basically - I'm trying to find different chain-reaction techniques besides this domino tumbling. If I want grant money, I refer to them as mechanically iterative devices.

NORRIS: He incorporates Muybridge into his winning device by triggering a test tube to pull a string, which releases a flip book. Each page has a frame of Muybridge's iconic horse. As they fall away, the horse appears to gallop, much like it did back in the 1870s.

Mr. FORT: I've always been kind of a fan of his because he's a movie pioneer.

BLOCK: Artist Michael Brown incorporated the same horse into his submission. He used small mirrors and light-emitting diodes to make the animal gallop across a bell jar. The creation, which won first place in our contest, resides in the lobby of an apartment building in San Francisco.

Mr. MICHAEL BROWN (Artist): The funny thing is - is actually, one of the tenants in that building is the one who told me about this contest.

NORRIS: People sometimes stop by the building, Brown says, just to see the little horse run. Our judges include film director Mark Neale, who once set Bono against a Muybridge-like grid in a U2 music video.

(Soundbite of music video, "Lemon")

BONO (Lead Vocals, U2): (Singing) Lemon. See through in the sunlight.

Mr. MARK NEALE (Film Director): I just love Muybridge because he is such a crazy character.

BLOCK: Neale and his fellow judges agreed that Muybridge would have been impressed by his influence so long after his death.

NORRIS: But Neale only sees one issue for Muybridge, who often used nude models in his motion studies.

Mr. NEALE: I mean, he probably wants to see more, you know, naked women and men. That's the thing that struck me about it. There's something very voyeuristic about what he did. So I think he might be a bit disappointed.

NORRIS: You can see all the winners of our Muybridge contest at's Picture Show blog.

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