Медиа-археологический проект Фёдора Михайлова Анимоптикум Оптические игрушки, предыстория кино и анимации

DIY spinning Russia into extreme romanticism Интервью для передачи Moscow Heartbeat на радио The Voice of Russia

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Interviewer: And speaking of this romanticism, our first story is about rebirth of the pre-industrial age DIY. We went to one of a kind optical toy making class.

Feodor Mikhaylov: My name is Feodor Mikhaylov, I’m a media archeologist and a master of optical toys.

Interviewer: Let’s find out about this DIY project that led to creation of cinema.

Feodor Mikhaylov: Before industrial production everything was Do It Yourself, so every single item, if you want to produce it, you should first do it yourself, because you don’t know whether it will work or it won’t work. So, for example, all optical toys which started the cinema were produced by someone, by hands in fact.

Interviewer: What are optical toys?

Feodor Mikhaylov: Optical toys first were scientific devices which were used for demonstrations of some scientific principles, but then they spread all over the world among grown-ups and children, and they were used for amusement. And then, children who saw those toys and understood underlying scientific principles, they were able to build even more sophisticated toys. So the 19th century was about building of more and more sophisticated optical toys which led to invention of the cinema.

Interviewer: Feodor is the only one in Russia that makes optical toys and now he is sharing his knowledge with others.

Do you think Do It Yourself, the DIY aspect today, is becoming trendy again?

Feodor Mikhaylov: Yeah, I think yes, because we have a huge hunger for some materialistic things, because sitting in front of our display for our working days and for our leisure time, we forget what is to touch, what is to handle objects. So when we come back to it, it is very, I think, interesting.

Interviewer: What inspired you to make optical toys?

Feodor Mikhaylov: I think books on the subject were just boring and couldn’t be understood without making something or at least buying something to understand how it works. Because when you read the text which was written by a person who never touched the thing, you don’t understand anything. So, in order to learn how the things worked, how cinema was invented, I decided to start collecting real things and building them myself to investigate those principles.

Interviewer: Can you talk about your work with kids? What are you going to do tonight?

Feodor Mikhaylov: I’m going to show the toys. There will be an ancient optical lantern, magical lantern, the real one; other toys are contemporary versions of older toys. And I will tell how step by step cinema was invented. And then we will make one very easy optical toy, wonder-turner.

Interviewer: What optical toy would it be?

Feodor Mikhaylov: Thaumatrope, wonder-turner, when you turn the cards with two images on different sides, and they meld into one image, for example, a bird in the cage, the most popular one.

Interviewer: The parts are cut out and put together using simple tools. But as simple as it looks, there must be a lot of work that goes into this process. There’s a method for sure. So how easy is it to put this magic together with all these lenses and stuff like that?

Feodor Mikhaylov: There is a huge problem with supplies. In fact, in USA you can buy almost everything: lenses, some materials, mirrors, plastic mirrors — whatever, and here not only you can’t buy it, you have difficulties to order it, because it will take about two months to reach Russia, it may be lost somewhere in our post office, and it’s a huge problem in fact.

Interviewer: When I think about DIY, I think about people making wooden things, or maybe some little airplanes, toys or kites. But I would never think of optical toys. So, do you think it could become something more than just DIY? Obviously, you’re already doing a class for kids, involving other people. Could it grow into a business?

Feodor Mikhaylov: We are doing classes for kids, we are starting two studios right now, one will be called Optical Theatre, one will be called Media Archeology Studio, and we will build optical toys with kids and investigate how the things work and how cinema was invented and other interesting stuff. It is one side of Do It Yourself, and another side that some things which we are now producing in little amounts, we will finally launch as a large production, industrial production. So, I think these are two sides of Do It Yourself, which makes it something important, that you are learning some things, scientific things, things about life, I don’t know, and about the world, and that every single industrial production somehow started with the Do It Yourself thing.

2 октября 2012