extraordinary study by philosopher of science François Dagognet,
the intriguing figure of Etienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904) emerges
afresh. Known best for his innovative and influential chronophotography,
Marey is studied here in the context of the full range of his interests
and obsessions — as physician, physiologist, aviation researcher,
pioneer in time-motion studies, and prodigious inventor. The impact
of Marey’s work was to stimulate a reconfiguration in many
fields of the status of movement, time, consciousness, and the image.
Thus Dagognet locates Marey at a crucial intersection of cultural,
scientific, philosophical, and technological modernity.
Marey’s photographic work, his increasingly sophisticated
techniques for recording motion, coincided historically with the
rise of new models of the relation between the human body and the
machine. Marey’s achievement was to show that the living machine
spawned by the forces of technological modernity must be thought
of in terms of movement, as his influence on Bergson, Futurism,
Duchamp, and the rise of Taylorist methods of production reflects.
For Marey it was not just a question of understanding animal locomotion:
with his constant fabrication of new recording devices, he studied
a world that could no longer be grasped by merely looking and sought
to trace the kinetics of flow, turbulence in the air, and dynamics
of water and wave patterns.