Publisher: Delpire & Co / Université Paris Cité
Magnetism, auras, levitating objects and other “paranormal” manifestations are examined here through the prism of the history of visual arts and science. It’s an unexpected encounter between disciplines that seem to oppose each other, tracing a little-known part of the history of scientific utopias.
Rare, often unpublished, the images in this book examine the fascination of scientists with so-called “unexplained” phenomena, from the 1890s to the present day. Drawn from private and public collections, the documents – mostly photographic, but not exclusively – feature ectoplasms, collective spiritualist experiments, mediums in action, aura photographs, medical images and even attempts to capture “magnetic fluid”.
This unexpected corpus, assembled in a manner reminiscent of a photographic curiosity cabinet, is a unique testimony to the use of photographic techniques to study occult phenomena.
This small hardback book, with its intriguing cover, presents over 120 images – each more astonishing than the last, sometimes going as far as abstraction, oscillating between scientific photography, photo-reportage (in the case of reports of seances) and genuine works of art – which retain, whatever their nature, their power of suggestion and attraction.