In her book Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadweard Muybridge, Rebecca Solnit writes that one of the most common phrases of the late 19th century was “the annihilation of time and space.” The steamship, the telegraph, the railroad — what Emerson called “one web” of a “thousand various threads” — and the photograph each played a role in destroying older notions of time and place. But as Solnit suggests, at heart of this annihilation was a conviction that viewed “the terms of our bodily existence as burdensome,” and that believed technology could do for us what our bodies couldn’t.

“Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change” February 26 through June 7. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.

You can’t get better evidence for this burdensome body than the photographs that Muybridge made of… More…

 

Pity the penguin. Darling of the animal world in the wake of March of the Penguins’ success in 2005, penguin fever quickly begat penguin fatigue. First, the film’s makers went and accepted their Oscar for best documentary carrying penguin stuffed animals. Then Hollywood inundated the market with penguin-centric films including Happy Feet, Surf’s Up, and Farce of the Penguins. The story of adorable birds with strong familial bonds on the desolate Antarctic landscape was universally appealing. But, as with most things adorable, enough finally became enough.

This is probably why Werner Herzog opens his new documentary, Encounters at the End of the World, with a caveat: If the U.S. National Science Foundation — which sent Herzog to Antarctica — had been expecting a penguin film, it would be sorely disappointed.

Understandable. March represented much of what have historically… More…