Science Museum Oklahoma Presents LIFETILES

Rufus in Front of Copernicus. Photo by Penny Sander
Enter the mesmerizing world of optically animated art in LIFETILES in the Satellite Galleries at Science Museum Oklahoma (SMO), 2100 NE 52nd Street in Oklahoma City. The show kicks off on Friday, May 16 with an opening reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., featuring a special presentation on optical animation by artist, filmmaker and inventor Rufus Butler Seder. The opening events are free and open to the public.

LIFETILES features a selection of Seder’s optical animation murals, cinespinners and toys from the company he runs with his wife Penny Sander, Eye Think, Inc.

In the mid-1980s, Seder’s interest in the history of the cinema led him to investigate antique motion picture toys. This sparked a desire to invent a movie-making method without electricity, mechanics or special lighting. The result was LIFETILE, a glass-tiled medium that allowed him to create life-size murals with images that appeared to move realistically as the observer walked by. Seder’s LIFETILES are featured in public places around the world, such as the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Visitor Center, Union Station in Washington, D.C., Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw, Taiwan Aquarium and a number of other science museums, zoos, aquariums, universities and national parks.

“Kids hop up and down and run back and forth in front of my murals, making the pictures “move”, while their parents sway from side to side, smiling to themselves. The people can be as fun to watch as the LIFETILES,” Seder said.

Rufus Working. Photo by Penny SanderThe success of LIFETILES led Seder to invent other optical wonders, including scanimation. Similar to flip books, Seder invented a method of scrambling the flip-book pictures and printing them on one page. Then, he laid a thin, clear, plastic sheet printed with a black “picket fence” pattern over the scrambled image. By opening the book, the picket fence slides across the scrambled image, showing the first drawing and each subsequent drawing which the brain interprets as motion. His work became a featured line of internationally best-selling, optically-animated children’s books: Gallop!, Swing!, Waddle!, Star Wars Scanimation and Wizard of Oz Scanimation.

“I’m mostly interested in finding ways to make magic,” Seder said about the scanimation process. “It combines the eye’s ability to use parallax perception with moiré-style multiple-line patterns, and a sheet of acetate. Ultimately, the brain thinks that the images on the page are actually moving. But really the only thing that is happening is what is going on between your ears. It’s a wonderful, patented, optical illusion.”

The Satellite Galleries are open during regular museum operating hours, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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