Sublime moving panorama tells the tale of a dream

Artist Emily Schubert had "a really intense dream one night" and immediately knew that she had to make a moving panorama—a "crankie"—to tell this sprawling epic. It took her about a month to create from dream to final form. The result is beautifully crafted, perfectly graphic, exquisitely detailed and narrated in just the right reverential way.

A moving panorama, wound between two spools, is moved by a hand-crank up top. The spools are put into a box with a viewing window, and the story is narrated (or sung!) while the scrolls are cranked along by hand. Panoramas predate film and were an early iteration of popular mass media. Panoramas, typically in a larger form than in the video above, would make their way across the country, a kind of traveling circus act all on their own. This storytelling format was so popular, in fact, that it developed zealous detractors, a ton of "tv is drugs" style criticism lobbed in the moving panorama's general direction. English Romantic poet William Wordsworth was famously an opponent of the panorama, who thought that the public were being too easily tricked by cheap phantasmagoria, inherently deceitful and all too irresistible for the public to turn away from. Wonder what he would have thought of phones n oculus headsets n stuff.

Photo: Matt Dandy

Anyway, odd historical tangent aside, Emily Schubert's choice of crankie to illustrate her awesome (in the truest sense of the word!) epic is both fitting and an excellent continuation of a curious historical form of popular art. I love analog, I love storytelling, I love accessible art, I love this piece.

She's currently based in Pittburgh, soon to be in Vermont, and always online at Her other work is just as magical and phenomenally detailed.

Previously: The spectacular creations of Handsome Devil Puppets