The Robot Book
By Thomas Jackson
Brooklyn, New York: Thomas Jackson Photography, 2011.
Edition of 11.
12 x 14.5 x 2.5"; 37 pages with 24 photographs and 7 illustrations. Printed on archival inkjet paper. Bound in wooden boards salvaged from a fallen-down chicken coop. Sheet metal pastedowns. Metal antenna top edge. Light switch with electronic components.
Thomas Jackson: "When I began this project three years ago, I didn't know I was making a book. The plan was to create a series of staged photographs addressing a set of themes that interested me, among them our culture's obsession with hard work and our less than harmonious relationship with the natural world. Composed in narrative form, in the manner of a medieval tapestry or altarpiece, the pictures would tell the story of a solitary robot's last days in a post-apocalyptic place. But when I completed the images in late 2010, the project felt unfinished. The story seemed to need one last narrative twist. The answer, I came to realize, was a book. A book that was itself an artifact from the world I'd created in the pictures. A combination of organic, manufactured and mechanical components, it would be the sort of thing the robot himself might have made. The result is a mixed media mash-up that's part sculpture, part graphic novel, part photo book and part gadget - an inscrutable relic long lost in an apocryphal future."
Photography Office interview April 23, 2011, Fresh and Original Photography by Thomas Jackson: "Visually speaking, my work obviously owes a lot to sci-fi literature and film. But for subject matter and narrative approach, I’ve been looking more and more to the art of the Middle Ages. I’m particularly drawn to works of that era that that tell stories in multiple panels–tapestries, altarpieces, stained glass, etc. One in particular that has strongly influenced the robot series is the beautifully gruesome “tapestry of the legend of St. Stephen” at the Cluny Museum in Paris.".
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