Mechanical Brides of the Uncanny


From Mechanical Brides of the Uncanny by Edward Bateman

In "Mechanical Brides of the Uncanny," artist Edward Bateman creates images that explore photography's role as historical evidence. Presented as a collection of discovered carte de visites, this book documents a forgotten age of mechanical wonders. Carte de visites were an immensely popular form of photography in the last half of the nineteenth century. They were widely traded and collected, with subjects ranging from portraits of everyday people to those of luminaries. Bateman uses this history to question the idea that all photographs are bound to a particular moment in time. Combining 19th century imagery with fabricated automatons, he creates images of the past with an iconography that is usually used to depict the future. They invite a comparison between automatons and cameras; for the first time in human history, objects of our creation were looking back at us. He imagines an era where memory and change marched hand in hand, creating the world we live in today and leaving behind worlds that only exist in images.

Bateman's book is #58 in Nazraeli Press' "One Picture Book" series. As described in the New Yorker, "Made in editions of five hundred, each book is sixteen pages, the last of which has an original signed and numbered print. Collectible and affordable, the books are an attempt to democratize art, following from Pichler's belief that anybody should be able to buy an original artwork." The books are priced on a sliding scale; as they sell out, the price goes up; Mechanical Brides is currently $100.

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