Artist Christian Marclay, invited to delve into the Photo Elysée collections in 2021, has explored the thousands of faces recorded by the museum’s Photomaton. With him, ECAL’s photography students have pored over, scanned and transformed the conserved prints.
Four portraits taken by a machine and printed in a few minutes! This is the experience offered by the Photomaton since it was invented in 1924. It was an immediate success, especially with the proliferation of identity documents that require a portrait taken to specific standards.
Very few people are unfamiliar with the experience of the Photomaton – the name of this photo booth installed in areas of high footfall. Automated, self-service, available 7 days a week, socially neutral, and above all less expensive than a portrait taken by a professional, and less intimidating too, this photographic process democratises the act of having a portrait taken, quickly, anywhere and at little cost. The ancestor of the Polaroid and the selfie, named after the words “photo” and “automaton”, this unmanned process, a veritable photographic automaton offering four unique prints, has often fascinated artists.
A few years ago, Photo Elysée acquired an automated photo studio. Since then, the museum has been inviting members of the public to photograph themselves and, if they wish, leave their portraits to create a collective work of art.
Multimedia artist Christian Marclay has explored thousands of faces recorded by the Photo Elysée Photomaton. With him, the students in the ECAL's Bachelor of Photography are making this archive their own through analogue and digital manipulations: collages, kinetic animations, scanning electron microscope and new forms of automation based on artificial intelligence.
Du 29 mars au 2 juin 2024
Pl. de la Gare 17