Photographer Edward Bateman makes the (dubious) claim that he has simply restored this “lost” footage created in 1897. These film clips lay undiscovered and unedited in archives; mislabeled because no one was willing to grant authorship to machines. Revealed for the first time in a restored form are 19th-century automatons using a newly invented Lumière brothers Cinématographe to document their final days. This project builds upon Bateman’s Mechanical Brides of the Uncanny – a limited edition book published by Nazraeli Press. About these robots, Bateman writes: For the first time in human history, objects of our own creation were looking back at us; an assertion as applicable to the camera as to the automatons.
Edward Bateman is an artist and professor at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, USA. He has been widely written about and included in a half dozen textbooks, including Seizing the Light: A Social and Aesthetic History of Photography, where he contributed images and collaborated on writing its chapter on digital photography. Nazraeli Press released a signed, limited-edition book of his work titled Mechanical Brides of the Uncanny. Bateman’s work has been exhibited in over twenty-seven countries and is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The China Printmaking Museum, and Getty Research Institute, among others. Last fall, his work was awarded the Nature Prize at the Royal Geographical Society in London.