Remember flip books? The early form of animation that allowed you to move through a sequence of images with the power of your own mighty thumb? That artistic technology was first introduced in the late 1800s and gained popularity in the 1930s when Cracker Jack Company gave them away as in-box prizes. You probably had one as a kid -- whether found in a cereal box or as a souvenir from Disneyland.
Los Angeles based artist duo Wendy Marvel and Mark Arnon Rosen have loved flip books since the first time they laid eyes on them. So much so that they wanted up update the vintage artistic practice without losing any of its hundred-year-old magic.
"As a kid you had flip books, you'd thumb through it, the picture would animate based on the frames in the book," Marvel explains in a video describing the project. "So we thought what would happen if we actually motorized this, if we actually created a little environment for this to live in and have it flip through -- kind of like the train station signs, the old ones."
Marvel and Rosen's mechanical flip books are made of surplus gadgets from bygone eras, like antique radio boxes from 1950s prop planes. The artists describe the DIY endeavor as "a mechanical movie machine that you can make" and "a hand-cranked flip book you can build at home with your own images." Essentially, with the help of a FlipBooKit, you can make either a manual or motorized flip book with your own photos or videos -- and voila! You have a work of kinetic art.
Forty-six artists from Brooklyn have used the wondrous FlipBooKit to blend digital and analog technologies in their own personal vision. The result is a sprawling exhibition at Brooklyn's Grumpy Bert Gallery, an exercise in turning back time and translating digital images to their analog proto-selves. The celebration of illustration and retro animation is going to get any drawing nerd's blood pumping.
You can see a preview of the exhibition below, but to watch the little guys in motion you'll have to visit Grumpy Bert before December 28.