L’Illusion de Joseph

A tribute to Joseph Plateau and his phenachistoscope


Virtual Reality, 360-degree videos, social networks, video games that look like movies and movies that look like video games: the entertainment dimension nowadays has become monstrous and is no longer just eye illusion, but illusion of mind.

Despite all these innovation’s turbines, Pasquale “Pask” D’Amico, aka Mr.Klesha, is still attracted to ancient methods and tools that continue to fascinate him. Some time ago he came across the phenachistoscope, also known as phenakistiscopio, an antique optical instrument that displays animated images — basically our today’s animated gif — invented by Joseph Plateau in 1832. He found the scans of these nineteenth-century records on Internet and the magic has begun…

“Illusions” are dangerous or simply help us live better?

Being under an illusion is clearly dangerous. Creating visual illusions, however, is positive both for the creator and the viewer. In the illusion lie countless worlds, and finding a way to perform and share them with others is good for the collective imagination. Illusions bring out archetypes, memories that are not our own but stored in our brains. Try to give a phenachistoscope to a child and observe him while he rotates it: you’ll see that this illusion will generate an amazement that will warm your heart, too.

From Plateau until now, how did our grasp of imagination change?

Maybe I’ll say a heresy, but I think the Ancients had much more imagination than us, digital men. We see hundreds of content every day: we read, watch videos and photos into a digital whirl that I think, in the long run, weakens our ability to imagine autonomously. On the one hand we have many tools than ever to realize our imagination while, on the other, it seems that everything has already been done and we often repeat and enter in a remix loop. Perhaps, in the past they had the opposite problem: they had many ideas but didn’t know how to put them into practice and only a few of them did. My biggest fear is that future generations will become just unable to imagine: think about the development of technology in 10 years — atomic wars aside. Virtual Reality and interactivity could put a cap on imagination. You have to be careful, disconnecting the Wifi once in a while, reading more, walking, teaching children the technological awareness, being a little men and women of the last century.

How long did it take you to complete the video?

I made 80% of this video in a few days, as I often do when I realize a work: in a flash, I animated the middle part and I found the perfect music in a song of my friend, Al Maranca. I have to say that music is a fundamental component of this video, and it wouldn’t have been as effective, without it. The remaining 20% — which is the initial and final part, animated in stop motion — took me a month or so of my free time: finding the right papertoys, printing and cutting them, composing the scene and of course animating it in stop motion — which I’d never done before. I want to clarify that the whole thing was made with very poor means: an old reflex, a single LED light and a lot of recycled paper and cardboard.

A memory from your childhood that you’ll always carry with you:

Since my daughter was born, something strange happened to my memory: some dormant childhood memories often surface, suddenly, very old memories.
For this reason, I have a vast choice and I will tell you just three of them: me and my mother making a collage with various types of pasta, my grandfather who made me drive the truck when we returned from the countryside and the first time I rode a skateboard.


2 Commenti su L’Illusion de Joseph

  1. Greta job kleshaman!

  2. silviomonteiro // 2017/07/09 alle 19:17 // Rispondi


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