London-based Pippin made his first Laundromat images in 1991. In 1997, using a row of twelve commercial washing machines in a laundromat based in Bayonne, New Jersey, he made a number of more ambitious series titled Laundromat-Locomotion. The title of these series refers to the analysis of human and animal motion undertaken by pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904). Published as Animal Locomotion in 1887, Muybridge’s study examined movement through sequential images using a number of cameras furnished with mechanically tripped shutters. There is a direct relationship between Muybridge’s work and Laundromat-Locomotion. Pippin has written that the more he thought about Muybridge ‘the more it seemed necessary to pay some kind of tribute’ and added that the excessive scratching caused by the negatives being spun at 500 rpm in a washing machine unexpectedly gave his images ‘some degree of authenticity by making it look like an original Muybridge from one hundred years ago. The scratches on the negative surface becoming a substitute for time, an artificial ageing process lending the pictures an accidental air of authenticity.’ (Steven Pippin, ‘Applied Photography’, in Laundromat - Locomotion, pp.153, 154.)
Turner Prize 1999 artists: Steven Pippin
Steven Pippin was nominated for his exhibition Laundromat-Locomotion in San Francisco and Philadelphia in which he transformed twelve laundry machines into cameras in an ambitious experiment exploring the relationship between vision and motion through photography.