General Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

What is going on in this very odd picture?

Asked by DigitalBlue (7072points) October 2nd, 2012


Any chance there is a jelly that knows something about this picture? Is it authentically vintage? What is going on in the photo? It’s so bizarre, I’d love to know anything about it.

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19 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Looks like an 1890s university Dance to Mathematics.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@zenvelo is that a real thing?

zenvelo's avatar

@DigitalBlue I have no idea. But 19th century American college kids use to do stuff like that all the time. Where did you discover the picture?

janbb's avatar

It looks authentic and it looks like a “tableau vivante” to me. Tableaux vivantes were a 19th century form of charades in which participants would stage a static vignette and players would guess what they were representing. I agree that the theme seems to be mathematics although often in tableaux vivantes the themes were from classical mythology.

_Whitetigress's avatar

It’s part of a collection of, “Unexplainable Photographs.” I saved the image and dragged into the Google Images for my answer.

It does look authentic judging by the dresses and overall appearance.

erichw1504's avatar

The age-old dancing ritual to mathematics.

CWOTUS's avatar

TinEye gave a list of 19 matches on the Web. If you’re not behind a firewall, maybe you can check out some of them.

janbb's avatar

@CWOTUS I just did but none of the links I looked at gave any attribution or explanation.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@_Whitetigress yes, that’s where I found it. It was a collection of 50 bizarre black and white photos. It just caught my eye more than the others, it’s pretty interesting, I think.

Coloma's avatar

Hey, I need those guys to be living scarecrows, people would pay good money to have that group dancing around their vineyards scaring away the birds. lol

bkcunningham's avatar

Here you go. Now, don’t post another photo with a question like this again. ~ It drove me crazy.

“This photograph is in the archives of the drama department at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The women are performing a play entitled “Math Nightmares” c. 1890.”

_Whitetigress's avatar

I remain skeptical due to the lack of source link on the site. Muahaha

bkcunningham's avatar

Actually, I agree, @_Whitetigress. I’m going to try to find another source and verify the Math Nightmares play and Vassar College when I get a chance. I have a gut feeling it is for real just because of some of the other things I’ve read about Vassar’s drama department around that time frame.

glacial's avatar

I want to see this play!

bkcunningham's avatar

I found this image from another site. The first image is the one you posted, @DigitalBlue. But note on the side of the image I provided. The words, “Poughkeepsie, N.Y.”

DWW25921's avatar

That was actually the first mosh pit in history. As you can see the audience appears to be of some sort of “goth” persuasion. As there wasn’t enough people it seems to have gone terribly wrong. Have you ever been passed through a crowd only to have someones afro comb poke you in the eye? Clearly, it appears they have suffered in such away than passed out. Rock on.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Math Sorority dance????

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