Joanne Lee: VRC/DP2.56

When this gig flyer came into being in 1989, I was already huge fan of The Fall, and a first year Fine Art student at Sheffield City Polytechnic, just starting to discover the joys of the those metal filing cabinets housing an institutional slide collection. I recall the clank of the drawers opening, the shuffle and click of the suspended plastic sheets as I riffled through them in search of images for research, presentations and seminars. Years later, as an artist and lecturer, I made and used countless slides for artworks, documentation, and for classes of my own. These days I may use Keynote and Powerpoint software, but handy as this is, the physical objects continue to fascinate me, coming to life as they do when slipped into a Kodak carousel and lowered onto a bulky black projector. I sometimes wonder about a dystopian future when a lack of electricity means we can no longer use computers, or indeed illuminate the few remaining projectors, and I imagine holding this slide against the light, peering at the small scrap of film, and thinking hard about what it represents: after all, so many key aspects of Manchester culture exist in this one place: The Fall, The Haçienda, Piccadilly Records, Eastern Bloc. It was an ephemeral piece of paper – probably now lost – which was preserved through an act of attention, through being photographed onto a 35mm slide, and which is now itself at risk if the Manchester School of Art collection is disposed of. The word ‘ephemera’ derives from the Greek meaning lasting no more than a day, and the day this flyer marks – Tuesday 6 March – sits exactly the day after Fall frontman Mark E. Smith’s birthday, and the day before my own. All these days are long past, but this slide, a ghost of an original, unexpectedly sustains: here’s hoping for its continued existence into our unknown future, where its ultimate significance remains to be discovered.

Joanne Lee


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