Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Jason Snape

Second Advisor

Jeff Boortz

Third Advisor

Craig Drennen


Zoetrope Blues surveys the zoetrope style of animation from its inception to its contemporary practitioners, discussing both the unique charms of the medium and the technical elements that make it work. This paper delineates the process behind zoetrope creation while also investigating the effects made possible by modern technology.

The zoetrope was the world’s first motion picture format, using the flicker of a handheld carousel to transform a spinning disc into the illusion of a moving image. This Victorian parlor trick changed our understanding of vision and laid the foundation for cinema, but was largely forgotten with the invention of the film projector.

Despite being a “dead medium,” the zoetrope has seen recent applications as varied as turntablism, sculpture, and augmented reality. Its quirks give it a careworn aesthetic which stands out against the glossy sheen of digital design, and its mandala-like polar grid gives it a psychedelic edge.


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