The Five Minute Museum: A Stop Motion Animation Shows the History of Civilization at Breakneck Speed

Exper­i­men­tal direc­tor and ani­ma­tor Paul Bush’s 2015 short film The Five-Minute Muse­um, above, is the dizzy­ing anti­dote to stand­ing, foot­sore, in front of a vit­rine crowd­ed with Ancient Greek amphoras or exquis­ite­ly craft­ed pock­et watch­es and won­der­ing, not about his­to­ry, cul­ture or the nature of time, but whether you can jus­ti­fy spend­ing $15 for an under­whelm­ing cheese and toma­to sand­wich in the muse­um cafe.

It’s a break­neck stop motion jour­ney through the his­to­ry of civ­i­liza­tion via six muse­um collections—three in Lon­don and three in Switzer­land.

Pre­sent­ed pri­mar­i­ly as stills that flash by at a rate of 24 per sec­ond, Bush groups like objects togeth­er, “there­by allow­ing the tri­umphs of human endeav­or to be seen even in far cor­ners of the land, by the bedrid­den, the infirm and the lazy.”

His sense of humor asserts itself the minute an assort­ment of ancient shards appear to ren­der them­selves into not just a state of whole­ness, but an entire up close soci­ety in close-up. It doesn’t take long for these ves­sels’ clash­ing of war­riors to give way to a com­pos­ite por­trait of idle youth, whose flir­ta­tions are stoked by a num­ber of man­ic pipers in rapid suc­ces­sion, and Andy Cow­ton’s orig­i­nal music and sound design.

It’s a shock when Bush slows down and pulls back to show the source objects in their muse­um cas­es, qui­et as a tomb, the sort of dis­play most vis­i­tors blow past en route to some­thing sex­i­er, like a dinosaur or a block­buster exhib­it requir­ing timed entry tick­ets.

Oth­er high­lights include a live­ly assort­ments of guns, hats, chairs, and plas­tic toys.

If you start feel­ing over­whelmed by the visu­al inten­si­ty, don’t wor­ry. Bush builds in a bit of a breather once you hit the clocks, the bulk of which pre­sum­ably hail from the Bey­er Clock and Watch Muse­um in Zurich.

The inge­nious ani­mat­ed short was 10 years in the mak­ing, a fact the artist mod­est­ly down­plays:

It’s very sim­ple. Sim­ple sto­ry, a sim­ple tech­nique and that’s what I like. Poet­ry should be a lit­tle bit stu­pid. This is what Pushkin says, and I try and make my films a lit­tle bit stu­pid as well.

In addi­tion to the Bey­er Clock and Watch Muse­um, you’ll find the fea­tured arti­facts housed in the British Muse­um, the Vic­to­ria and Albert Muse­um, London’s Muse­um of the Home (for­mer­ly known as the Gef­frye Muse­um) as well as the Lucerne His­tor­i­cal Muse­um and the Bern His­tor­i­cal Muse­um.

Expect a much slow­er expe­ri­ence.

via Aeon

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

A Vir­tu­al Tour Inside the Hayao Miyazaki’s Stu­dio Ghi­b­li Muse­um

Watch Art on Ancient Greek Vas­es Come to Life with 21st Cen­tu­ry Ani­ma­tion

Take a Vir­tu­al Tour of 30 World-Class Muse­ums & Safe­ly Vis­it 2 Mil­lion Works of Fine Art

Take Immer­sive Vir­tu­al Tours of the World’s Great Muse­ums: The Lou­vre, Her­mitage, Van Gogh Muse­um & Much More

Where to Find Free Art Images & Books from Great Muse­ums, and Free Books from Uni­ver­si­ty Press­es

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Help your­self to her free down­load­able poster series, encour­ag­ing cit­i­zens to wear masks. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.