UPDATE: The Slovak Design Center and Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Helsinki are happy to invite you to the Searching for Beauty Exhibition opening on October 31, 2018, at 6 pm in the Main Exhibition Hall of the National Library of Estonia (Tõnismägi 2, Tallinn, Estonia). The Exhibition closes on November 19, 2018.
The authors, Ové Pictures (Michaela Čopíková, Veronika Obertová), applied animation principles and created several interactive installations centred around the central motif of searching for beauty in new contexts.
They use historical optical toys as zeotrope, flip book, and diorama and transform them into a more current interactive variation.
While the exhibition expresses the authors’ understanding of new beauty, the gallery and GIF generator complement the exhibition for everybody to express their subjective feeling of modern beauty.
The authors, Ové Pictures, understand the “new beauty” as a shift of aesthetic perception of the world around us. We move from the traditional admiration of natural, or historical and folk idealised country to understanding beauty in real environment where we exist in our everyday lives. In a way, beauty is also represented in urban stills of industrial form, routine situations, fragments of memories, or abstract images. The exhibited objects represent different views of understanding beauty and combine new and traditional ideas in a fascinating collection.
The exhibition was created as apart of the first Slovak EU Council Presidency under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and
the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.
The main organiser of the project is the Slovak Design Centre.
Exhibited Objects at the Searching for Beauty Exhibition
• Beauty of Life
Life on Earth is beautiful and diverse; with motion as its fundamental feature. Everything keeps moving; it goes on, flows, grows, breaths, reproduces, …
The “Beauty of Life” object works on the zoetrope principle – a simple device which renders moving picture. The word zoetrope originates in Greek; zoo means “life” and tropos, “turning”. Zoetrope was popular in the 19th century, but its versions can be found even 5000 years ago. Our zoetrope is a modern spatial version with objects rotating on bases illuminated with a strobe light in rapid intervals. The stroboscopic effect makes each object seem like an animation.
• Hypnotic Beauty
It is hypnotising watching a burning fire, glittering lake surface, leaves in the wind, or shining stars during a summer night. Such rhythmical, sometimes even abstract pictures, satisfy our minds in a strange manner.
”Hypnotic Beauty” uses the principle of a linear zoetrope—it is a series of pictures on a wound belt or cylinder which rotates. Viewers watch images through narrow slits, whereas, due to a feature of human eye—persistence of vision—they see the sequence of pictures as an animation. Euclid was already aware of this principle, however, devices with moving images were not popular until the 19th century, and what is more important: they became a predecessor of film.
• Beauty of Moment
Beauty hides in ungraspable fleeting moments too. Sometimes they are childhood memories, other times moments of pure joy, fulfilment, trip fragments or dream-come-trues. It is a moment stuck in our mind, we keep it and would not trade it for anything else. It might even be something irrational, like a memory of a hotdog.
The “Beauty of Moment” object is based on the principle of a flip book. A flip book is a paper picture book which, when pages are turned rapidly, simulates motion or animation. The first known flip book appeared in 1868, and it has become a popular toy for children since then, but it is also the simplest demonstration of animated picture.
• Great Beauty
Open views and sceneries sometimes make us feel how small we are; we feel the enormity of our world. We sense its unattainableness and, at the same time, we feel we are a part of it. It is precisely that moment when you see the sea after many years again; climb a hill and a view of a country opens in front of you; when on the way home, you see the first snow falling in the car park lamp light; or you watch railways running into the distance from a bridge.
The “Great Beauty” installation uses a traditional cultural object—a diorama. The word diorama means a small-scale replica which creates, somewhat, a scene, and from the beginning of the 19th century, it has become a popular tool for theatres and a typical museum exhibit. Dioramas made of paper are known even earlier, from 17th century Japan.
• Searching for Beauty
Does beauty mean something else for everybody? Or we feel it the same? Can beauty be ugly? Has the view of beauty changed? Maybe it is so that every generation needs to redefine beauty; it might be just momentary. Streams of images and definitions surround us, and it seems like there is an answer to everything, but it might not be that way. We are curious about when we experience beauty, do we all feel it same or everybody their way?
Apart from the “Searching for Beauty” exhibition, the project has an important web-based part—a GIF gallery with GIF generator—a digital world parallel of the exhibited objects. GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a bitmap format which could take a form of a short video or a sequence of animated pictures. Yet in 1987, the GIF appeared on the web, and it is experiencing its renaissance thanks to social media and we see its diverse forms in our every digital step. The web gallery and GIF generator “Searching for Beauty” were launched for public on 7th June 2016, the web is appears in the exhibition in the form of a special object.