Stop Motion Studies-Tokyo

December 2003

Supported by LEF Foundation

David Crawford’s Stop Motion Studies are experimental documentaries that chronicle his interaction with subway passengers in cities around the world. His goal is to create an international character study based on the aspects of identity that emerge. SMS-Tokyo was shot in Japan. As with Crawford’s earlier Stop Motion Studies, its focus is on the non-verbal. In their photographs, the body language of the subjects becomes the basic syntax for a series of Web-based animations exploring movement, gesture, and algorithmic montage. Many sequences document a person’s reaction to being photographed by a stranger. Some smile, others snarl, still others perform. Some pretend not to notice. Underneath all of this are assumptions and unknowns unique to each situation.

This Flash work has been preserved with Ruffle by the Electronic Literature Lab in July 2021. When it launches, a play button may appear that you will need to click; after launching it, the work may take time to appear.



Flash Player required.


All imagery for these new series was shot in Tokyo, Japan on October 27, 2003. The camera used was a Canon PowerShot A40 – a consumer grade still camera capable of taking roughly 64 low-resolution images per minute. The photos were then brought into Flash MX to be programmatically sequenced and formatted for the Web. There has been no cropping or retouching applied to the images.