Man Ray, Emak-Bakia (Leave me Alone), 1926

Man Ray’s work goes beyond painting and photography. Throughout the 1920s, Man Ray, along with Duchamp, produced a number of short films using completely new ideas of motion graphics. His 1926 film Emak-Bakia (Leave me Alone) is honestly downright weird on first viewing but when looking at the film from a purely technological standpoint it boggles the mind. Odd double exposures and photographic overlays on blinking eyes were beyond innovative at the time. The use of motion with animals and automobiles give the video an odd human-like point of view. Even the background music has times where it duplicates the odd double exposure of the image into a double exposure of sound, similar to that of having two TVs playing the same thing in different rooms where one is ½ a second behind the other (Kateetlui).

At a time when movies were some of the largest and newest entertainment of the day, Emak-Bakia has no plot. For that simple reason I do not believe that the video has really any purpose other than to see what can technologically be done on film. These videos took a huge amount of time to produce since every image and screen had to be made by hand and printed before transferring the image onto the film roll. What I also find particularly interesting about the film is how Man Ray repeated so many elements of it over and over again. The dancing feet that I have pictured seems to stay playing for a long time making the viewer question what they are looking at. Do we start to see anything else from the dancing feet? Is there anything in the background that draws attention? Similarly the blinking eye that keeps coming up throughout the film draws similar questions? Is it representational of a larger theme underlying the film? Ultimately the answer to all of these questions I do not know. There could be a theme, there could be a subject or idea Man Ray was trying to present but ultimately, I believe, the simple point of this film was to study what film could do. In my opinion, that is part of the brilliance of Man Ray. Instead of using art as social critique, he experimented with art to see what was technologically possible. He used art to make science.



Kateetlui. “Man Ray Emak Bakia, 1926.” YouTube, YouTube, 22 Nov. 2013,

“Emak-Bakia Plot.” IMDb,,