Fotograf Magazine

Taiyo Onorato a Nico Krebs

Transformed Vision

‘Edison set himself energetically to work, stroking the back of a cat in order to produce a current …

… they used a piece of cable, fished out of the river. All this was very good, so far as it went. But how were they to produce electricity? That was the question!’ 1


The Swiss artists Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs have been working collaboratively since 2003. Their often humorous, yet rigorous, enquiry into the field of image production frequently includes installations and sculptures alongside film and photography. Their mode of production has an air of sustained experimentation on the way to a major invention, which brings to mind a scene from a film about a deadly rivalry between two 19th century magicians and their obsession with the creation of the perfect illusion. In his laboratory, the inventor and engineer Nicola Tesla, works persistently on a mysterious machine, inducing a black top hat with electric current in an attempt to create its duplicate. No matter how many times he tries, it doesn’t work – to the terrible disappointment of the magician who comes to inspect the commission he paid Tesla for. They then try to use a different material – the assistant’s cat – but to no avail. However, upon leaving through the woods surrounding Tesla’s laboratory, the magician comes across the same black cat, or rather a couple of them, multiplied and meowing among a large pile of scattered top hats. ‘The Transported Man’ machine, which teleports a duplicate of the original, had worked; the only issue being that it is hard to predict where the duplicate will materialise.2

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#24 seeing is believing