While looking through an issue of the Comptes Rendus for the announcement of the funeral of the great mathematician and all-around genius Henri Poincare1, I found in the weekly issue (a fraction of an inch comprising the three-inch-thick half-yearly volume of papers published by the French Academy) this wonderful illustration. It looks a bit like the superstructure to a Cubist dance, and bears a good strong attraction to many of the still images produced by Etienne Marey, maybe even a little like a mirrored representation of a stick figure skeleton of Duchamp's Nude Descending, which interestingly was finished in this same year.
There's also a bit of early dance notation that the image reminds me of, particularly Raoul Feuillet's publication of Pierre Beauchamp's Orchesography4 , a work published first in 1700 (and then in English in 1706) and dedicated to instructing people on the movements of the dance:
The image is an illustration for the article "Un nouveau cinematographie a images, tres frequentes", by P(ierre) Nogues, and was a technical rendering of a device that ran film through a projector at a very high speed. Nogues (1878-1971) was an assistant and collaborator to Etienne Marey, who was one of the earliest and perhaps the greatest figures in early cinematography and who--like Eadweard Muybridge--successful managed to create articulate optical machines that could capture and record minute and fast motion in people, animals, blood, and so on. Nogues and his contemporaries lie Georges Demeny, Francois-Franck and Lucian Bull were among the founding encyclopedists of motion. The drawing above was an outline for a sprocket device that feed flexible film through a camera at very high speed (ultimately reaching some 380 frames per second). It is a beautiful thing.
1. Poincare died 17 July 1912, aged 58; the announcement of the funeral for one of the intellectual kings of the 19th century appeared on page 263 in this issue for 22 July 1912.