Ophelia (art) - digital painting of a doll by Barbara Agreste

Pictures Book

My idea to put old photographs from 1919 into a Pictures Book

The animation “Pictures Book” was commissioned by Curator Enrico Tomaselli to be part of the “100×100=900 Video Art Project, One Hundred Artists to tell a century” which is presenting one hundred videos each inspired to one year of the 20th century.

I was given the year 1919 to work on and so I invented this animation making a collage with many pictures and films found on the web that were taken or filmed in 1919.

I looked at the past through those documents that were left of it, mainly visual material like photographs and films. I decided to make an animation with old pictures I found on the web that were actually taken in 1919, and I have attached them to the pages of a book that I filmed while I leafed through it.

Looking at the photographs the viewer can recognize some of the major events and relevant people of that year: the Treaty of Versailles (a series of conferences that took place in the Palace of Versailles in January 1919), Lady Astor as the first female member of the British Parliament, Emma Goldman, a crusader for women’s rights arrested in New york for distributing materials about birth control, the newly invented Rotary Dial Telephones that allowed people to dial the number themselves and not having to go through an operator, “Felix the Cat” as one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history, and George Grosz’s painting “The City”.

Alongside the photographs, in some of the frames of the book I have placed some accelerated film-clips like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, “Broken Blossoms”, and “Flying Youth” among others: I find these moving images extremely beautiful, and I consider them to be precious examples of of 20th century film/art. Other pictures I have included show scenes of everyday life: buildings, architecture, towns, shops, interiors, fashion, and cars designed in 1919. Many of the photographs in this animation are not presented in their original version, but stylized as if drawn in ink, because I wanted this video to look more like a sketchbook of memories than a simple historical document. The sound is a mixture of extracts from famous symphonies, songs, talking voices of that period, and soundtracks from the included feature films.

Pictures Book

Pictures Book - A Video Art piece by Barbara Agreste for the anniversary of Video Art 100x100=900

Pictures Book

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Dolls - Ophelia (art, paintings) series by Barbara Agreste