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Before and After Breath

After a year accumulating a collection of pre-1908 evacuated carbon-filament light bulbs, I corresponded with a community of light bulb collectors to verify that each bulb had been manufactured more than a 100 years prior, thereby having ‘contained’ a vacuum for a century.

I contacted several industrial metal works hoping to access a steel stamping press to make a series of prints. My enquiries were met with disinterested until I spoke to the president of a local company who mentioned there was a small play printing kit on his desk that had been given to him by his late father.

Over the course of a weekend I brought the pre-1908 evacuated carbon-filament light bulbs to his family’s steel works, where each respective bulb was placed upon five sheets of paper, interleaved with five sheets of carbon paper and stamped using a fifty-ton industrial steel press.

Installation view: White Columns, New York.