Drawing Machines: Happy Birthday



Human exploration of visual graphics has never stopped, and in the 19th century, a bunch of scientists and artists were very interested in moving diagrams. In 1833, for example, the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau and the Austrian mathematician Simon von Stampfer almost simultaneously invented the Phenakistiscope (Fenaci Mirror). The Fenaci mirror was followed by a Zoetrope, and in 1834 William George Horner, a British mathematician, proposed an improved version of a cylindrical Fenaci mirror, explaining its mathematical principles in detail. The principle and observation of the Zoetrope is similar to the Fenaci mirror, or through the narrow seam observation, but because of the ring design, many people can watch at the same time. Visual staying phenomenon is how they work. When the human eye is looking at an object, the light signal is passed into the retinal nerve and then to the cerebral cortex, after a short period of time, after the effect of light, the visual image does not immediately disappear, it will probably last about 0.1-0.4 seconds. When the image of the next frame appears in the same position, the brain does not feel blurred and can see the animation. The function of the narrow seam in the Fenaci mirror is to ensure that the observer can only see the current frame of the pattern when it reaches the same position as the previous frame, and if it does not look through the narrow seam, it will be a blur.

This is the old draft of Zoetrope, and it also gave me the idea of how to make my own zoetrope. But in the studio, I have limited material so I changed a little. I always want to create something surprising and meaningful, and my friend’s birthday is close, so I decided to “make a birthday cake” for her.

Firstly, I need a cardboard circle as my base.
Secondly, I need 8 pieces of paper to draw the birth cake on them and then use a glue gun to stick the eight small pieces of paper, exactly the same size, evenly on the cardboard circle.

Thirdly, I need to use mirrors to reflect the birth cake to my physical eyes, so I stacked 5 pieces of mirror on the pentagon and stacked the whole thing on the middle of the cardboard circle.
Finally, go through the cardboard with a small stick, and then hold it firmly.
Here is my finished work.