Motion Picture

Peter Tscherkassky

Peter Tscherkassky, Motion Picture

Motion Picture (La Sortie des Ouvriers de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon)

3:23 minutes, black and white, silent, 16mm

Austria 1984


“With Motion Picture I wanted to isolate and connect the elemental building blocks of the cinematographic apparatus and to reveal the fundamental illusion code. So I marched into the darkroom and mounted fifty 16mm strips of unexposed film stock onto the wall, vertically covering a surface of 50 x 80 cm in total. Onto this blank cinematic canvas I projected a single frame from Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895) by the brothers Lumière. I processed the exposed filmstrips and subsequently arranged them on a light table to form a 50 x 80 cm duplicate of the original Lumière frame. I then edited the filmstrips together, starting with the first strip on the left, and proceeding to the right. The result is a three-minute 16 mm film exhibiting the particles of darkness and light that constitute the original Lumière image, emptied of all figurative content. As Michael Palm put it, ‘If it were possible to see a code, one might say: here it shows’” (Tscherkassky 2012).


Peter Tscherkassky, born 1958 in Vienna, lives and works in Vienna and Enzersfeld, Austria.


Peter Tscherkassky, “¿Cómo  y por qué? Algunos comentarios acerca de las técnicas de producción empleadas en la realización de la Trilogia CinemaScope” and “How and Why? A Few Comments Concerning Production Techniques Employed in the Making of the CinemaScope Trilogy”, both in Desde el cuarto oscuro. El cine manufracturado de Peter Tscherkassky/From a Dark Room. The Manufractured Cinema of Peter Tscherkassky [Spanish/ English], eds. Maximiliano Cruz and Sandra Gómez (Mexico City: Interior 13/UNAM International Film Festival – FICUNAM, 2012), pp. 51–60 and 124–129.

Michael Palm, “Liebesfilme. Zu einigen Arbeiten von Peter Tscherkassky,” in Avantgardefilm. Österreich 1950 bis heute, eds.  Alexander Horwath, Lisl Ponger and Gottfried Schlemmer (Vienna: Verlag Wespennest, 1995),

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