Friday, June 1, 2012

Ornicopia 12 (Albino Birds, Étiennne-Jules Marey, Loïe Fuller and June 1st Anniversary)

355. * Are all white birds albinos?  By no means are all white birds albinos.  Proof of this may be found in the colored eyes of many white birds.  Gulls, terns, egrets, white pelicans, swans, snow geese and whooping cranes are among the white or nearly white birds of North America.  They are not albinistic though they lack pigment in some or all their feathers.


   The top photograph showing the white pelican is an 1886 work by the pioneering French scientist, physiologist and chronophotographer Étiennne-Jules Marey, and was made using his 1882 invention, the "fusil photographique" (chronophotographic gun). 

   This device, which anticipated the modern motion-picture camera, allowed Marey to record twelve separate consecutive images per-second on a single frame of film.      

   I keep a Marey staggered-image  of a person walking on my computer desktop at all times.  His work is a continuing wonder-of-the-world.

Étiennne-Jules Marey among his inventions.    

    The photograph which appears below the pelican reminds me of Marey's bird series and  shows the pioneering American dancer and theatrical lighting designer Loïe Fuller in performance.  The image was taken by an unknown photographer and dates from the 1890s or early 1900s.  

    Born Marie Louise Fuller in Fullersburg (now Hinsdale), Illinois, this artist  achieved great success and renown in Europe after beginning her dancing career in the United States.  Fuller eventually settled in Paris (where she is buried in Père Lachaise cemetery)  and gained the attention, respect, and friendship of many leading French artists and scientists, including Jules Chéret, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, François-Raoul Larche, Henri-Pierre Roché, Auguste Rodin, Franz von Stuck, Maurice Denis, Thomas Theodor Heine, Koloman Moser, Stéphane Mallarmé and Marie Curie. 

Loïe Fuller in 1900.

  Fuller held many patents related to stage lighting and luminscent costuming.  These included chemical compounds for creating color gels and chemical salts.

  Loïe Fuller's original stage name was "Louie".  In modern French "L'ouïe" is the word for a sense of hearing. When Fuller reached Paris she  was given a nickname, which was a pun on "Louie"/"L'ouïe".  The French re-named her "Loïe,"  a corruption of the early or Medieval French "L'oïe" and a precursor to "L'ouïe", which means "receptiveness" or "understanding." 

  Happy June 1, 2012.   It is the thirty-eighth anniversary of the Rainbow Theater, London concert by Kevin Ayers, John Cale, Nico and Eno that I thought would change the world.  Well, it changed my world.

Loïe Fuller sketched by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 1892.

Marey’s chronophotographic gun ("Fusil photographique").

Bird albinism text excerpted from:  1001 Questions Answered About Birds by Allan D. Cruickshank and Helen G. Cruickshank (Toronto, General Publishing Company, 1958).

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