perforated board


Nights of Siberia

Alexander Alexeieff

Illustrations for Joseph Kessel’s Les Nuits de Siberie, 1928 (illustration via: 50watts)

From Wiki:  "Alexandre Alexandrovitch Alexeieff (Russian: Александр Александрович Алексеев Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Alekseyev (sometimes credited as Alexander Alexeieff or Alexander Alexeïeff or Alexandre Alexieff); 18 April 1901 – 9 August 1982) was a Russian Empire-born artist, filmmaker and illustrator who lived and worked mainly in Paris. He and his second wife Claire Parker (1906–1981) are credited with inventing the pinscreen as well as the animation technique totalization. In all Alexeieff produced 6 films on the pinscreen, 41 advertising films and illustrated 41 books…

The pinscreen

…Alexeieff is most famous for his invention of the pinscreen which he used to make about 6 short films.

The pinboard on which Alexeieff created his extraordinary black and white films is an upright perforated board, three by four feet, into which a million headless steel pins have been inserted. When the pins are pushed forward and lighted obliquely, they create an entirely black surface on the front of the Pinboard. When they are pushed back, the white of the board shows through. In between the pins create various shades of grey.[9]

The first prototype of the pinscreen was made by Alexandra Grinevsky with the help of her daughter Svetlana. It consisted of a canvas perforated with a grid into which pins were inserted. Later on Claire Parker and Alexeieff built the first large pinscreen which was used to film Night on Bald Mountain. The Parker family paid for the construction of it.

Alexeieff never made sketches before he created the images on the screen. He conceived each of the stages on the positive side of the screen while Claire worked on the back side of it. Small man made tools were used to produce various patterns on the board. Such everyday instruments as forks, spoons, knives, brushes, cups, prisms and rolling pins were used.

Each of the frames was created one at a time. This painstaking technique demands a lot of attention and ingenuity.

The only follower of Alexeieff, Jacques Drouin, of the Canadian Film Board has made several films using this technique.“  (text via wiki)

Dashboard: Click box below for video

Le Nez -  via:  Andrea Martignoni | youtube

Description via wiki: The Nose, based on Nikolai Gogol’s satirical short story was released in 1963 and marks the first narrative film made on the pinscreen. The film tells the story of a Russian official who loses his nose and the adventures of the nose itself as well as the barber who finds the nose”

Read more about Alexeieff and his family.  HERE