Curator's Choice: Momi

Since the museum tries to be entertaining, as well as educational, what I like most is seeing the reactions on visitors' faces. This is most in evidence with a display about animation. The history of animation is told in six different areas. In the corner of the room we actually have a real student animator in residence who works on a project for three months.

The six areas show the equipment used in modern animation and these include cel work, used commonly in Disney films, puppets from Czechoslovakia and equipment used to paint oils on to glass.

In the centre of the display is a round desk where people can use zoetrope strips to create their own animation. This captures the essence of the museum which is the participation of visitors in the film-making process.

The zoetrope itself is a very simple device. It is a round tin box, about 9 in wide, with slits which you look through while spinning it on its pedestal. The drawing lies in the can with the images facing outwards and if you look through the slits when it's spinning you can see the drawings start to move. It gives the illusion of movement.

It was a Victorian toy and was invented about 60 years before cinema was born. Someone obviously thought it would sell but initially it was a pure science investigation which was based on something called 'the persistence of vision' where your eye retains the image it has previously seen for a split second. We aim to show the link between the complexity of modern animation and its origins in this one simple machine, the zoetrope.

Leslie Hardcastle is the curator of the Museum of the Moving Image, 10am-6pm daily, South Bank Centre, London SE1 (071-928 3535)

(Photograph omitted)

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