Leisurely speaking recreational family activities
range from such indoor pleasures as reading of poetry or playing
chamber string quartet music in bourgeoisie XIX century home to
more popular outdoor activities of post-industrial society as travel,
sport and dance, not to forget even a common drug use among different
generations of the family. However the overwhelming production and
consumption of images in mass society has became the most popular
recreational activity since the invention of inexpensive analogue
and digital recording devices. The making of images has turned into
recreational activity itself integrating travel and family reunion
into just another subject of photographs or videos. To meet family
without any image recording device on travel is almost as extraordinary
as to not recognize Madonna in the street.
Yet the fact that usually particular events of
higher significance like wedding, travel, family reunion or weekend
get into focus instead of dish washing certifies that we haven't
entered the stage of pure leisure societies and cocaine nights (J.G.
Ballard) have not become our days yet. However who would resist
to delve into analogue senses and sensibilities embodied in the
vibration of warm light and color on the wall? - Welcome to Slide
Slide Show Land (2002) is collection of collections
of 35mm family and travel slides from hundreds of different families
dating from 1940 - 1995 (over 30,000 slides), advertised as 'travel
and family slides', and purchased so far through various Internet
auction sites by Elvis Richardson (b. Sydney 1965), Australian artist
and curator living in New York. Slide Show Land is to be shown at
The Physics Room New Zealand and Columbia MFA graduation show as
an interactive installation. Recently Slide Show Land has been successfully
shown together with live DJ music at the Bi-Fi screening in NYC.
The geography of collected images reaches Cape
Cod, Paris, South Africa, While entering unfamiliar places at Elvis
Richardson installation we at the same time enter unfamiliar lives
even if they do not seem to be so different from ours. The fact
that private images of family life have become public explores not
only our trashophily, but raises interesting questions about privacy
and publicity as well - however while we think about it the next
slide transcends to another episode - that's the particularity of
the medium. In some respect the situation reminds Jonathan Fuerst
- the character of Jack Nicholson in Carnal Knowledge (1971) diaprojecting
his former girlfriends for the couple of friends and commenting
them in a highly explicit way. Elvis Richardson's slides may be
not so explicit as our thoughts about them as well. However the
aesthetics of them reminds other characters - some shots look like
photographs of Wolfgang Tilmans, Juergen Teller or Rineke Dijkstra.
It feels as if you were flipping pages of Face or Purple Fashion.
Well, those are not bad magazine though. And it's good to know where
things come from.
It is impossible to miss the double nature of Slide
Show Land too. While traveling in time and space together with strangers
and rotating in 360 degrees memory carrousel one visit issues of
ready-made, found object, re-collection as well, and, of course,
the medium par excellence - diaprojection. As we know slide (diaprojection)
is a particular underrated sub-medium located between photography
and film and still been waiting for more light among the tons of
video and film studies. Therefore one could say that while acting
as a cultural anthropologist in search of particular folk-records
Elvis Richardson steps into media studies as well not to forget
integration of such a commercial structure as Ebay into her practice
(which adds yet another aspect to Slide Show Land1).
There is another reason to remember Jack Nicholson
again - it is usually white male who displays the power of collection.
Woman traditionally tend to be turned into an item of it. Re-collecting
slide collections Elvis Richardson enters double identity which
corresponds in an interesting way with her detective (usually male
domain as well) strategies particularly used in previous works.
The same may happen with the viewer when watching of slides provoke
tracing the individual story back. Since subjects of slides are
rather familiar, participants are invited to tell their own stories
about projected images.
These are not slides whose viewing is intended
to retroactively change the history, however it might radically
change your hour.
1 - Ebay's popularity within contemporary artworld
is rising: one could remember Christop Buechel who sold his right
of participation in Manifesta 4 biennial this year for US $15,099.00