Month: June 2015

Ehinomen Oboh: PR3.1.17

When I entered the slide library, I knew what I was looking for. I set out to claim all the African textile slides but was captured by slide PR.3.1 .1, a Bakuba fabric called Kasia Velvet from Kasia Congo.

I have a particular fascination with this textile slide because of the repeated patterns and the colour tones. When I pulled the textiles slide out from the drawer, I was attracted to the history rather than its content and in particular the block ‘repeat’ effect image in this piece. It evoked handmade indigo dyed cloth like those in adire eleko cloth produced by Yoruba women in Abeokuta in South Western Nigeria using carved wood blocks to apply a wax resist pattern for each colour before the cloth is dyed.

The patterns and colours, and the dark colour over the background takes me to into my research narratives. One colour over the background is not new. It brings to mind Ankara ‘block1’ and ‘block2’ resit style stories in my PhD narrative and joins hands with Adire eleko to shout that one colour over the background colours but have been part of African textiles.

The slide library Kasia Velvet collection tells its own story of African patterns printed on other fabrics like velvet offerings itself as a pointer to stories of African textiles.

Ehinomen Oboh
PhD Researcher, MIRIAD


Hazel Jones: DCSC 9475A

You don’t have to spend long in the VRC to find a treasure, and the added bonus is the knowledge John Davis brings to your find. This wonderful slide of a ‘pocket sized radio pager’ intrigued me as I am very interested in the redundant object..
“Neither Use Nor Ornament” being the title of a Mail Art project I have just set up.
John found out the related article in the Design Council Magazine..which included these facts:-

The pager weighs just 60 grams
It emits four easily identified tone patterns.
The caller dials one of the wearer’s four telephone numbers.
The pager not only alerts the wearer he (it always refers to men) is wanted , but can also signal who wants him.
The pager is powered by two hearing aid batteries.
Using the British Telecom National Radiopaging System, a wearer can be paged anywhere in Britain.
The unit can be switched to memory if the wearer doesn’t want to be disturbed.

Of course the mobile phone has made this system seem very archaic , although talking to some of my fellow train travellers they remember their pagers with fondness….one even said it sometimes gave him chance to wake up before he made the phone call to his boss who was paging him…it bought him some time..(he works in IT).

Hazel Jones M.A (RCA)
Senior Lecturer
Interactive Arts
Manchester School of Art

Elizabeth Charlton: Local.93.023

I lived for a very short time in Manchester in 1992 and would regularly go to Marks & Spencer, though I don’t know if it had had a change of location since this slide was taken. I adopted this slide for two reasons;

1. M&S is such a British icon; while it has its own archives, this slide represents the local Mancunian presence

2. A building close to my current work in Wellington, New Zealand has a wavy awning. To see that this was already trendy in 1960s has made me consider architectural influences

As an archivist, I can understand the value of this collection, not just for research but also for its representation of a changing Manchester. To disestablish this collection is to remove memory and identity.

Elizabeth Charlton
Wellington, New Zealand

Jim Aulich: OK25.6V.16

Oh what a laugh! This slide is one of a collection of paperback book covers given to The Effects of Vietnam on American Culture (EVAC) research group by an American academic who contributed to the eponymous international conference held in the summer of 1985 at the Didsbury campus. The group was made up of members of what were then the Departments of History of Art, English, History, Politics and Philosophy and included colleagues David Huxley and Robert Hamilton. The conference also saw the first collaboration between what was then Manchester Polytechnic and Manchester City Art Gallery with the exhibition Vietnam and the Graphic Arts at the Fletcher Moss Gallery. We still have the slides but the books have long since disappeared.

Professor Jim Aulich PhD
Head of Research Degrees, Manchester School of Art
Head of Ethics, Manchester School of Art


Joan Beadle: no ref

This image slightly bends the rules, as instead of a single slide it’s an image of a group of glass slides contained within a wooden box.

In 1995 the BA Fine Art course returned to the Grosvenor Building after being housed for a number of years at the Medlock Site (a low rise building just off the Mancunian way –now demolished)

As part of the reorganisation, all sorts of unwanted Art School ‘detritus’ was unearthed including this box of slides!. Art school staff were invited to select any items that they wished to keep before the remaining items were disposed of, this was when the box of slides came into my possession.

The Box contains a mixture of glass slides which might suggest that it was used as a practical teaching aid, some slides are drawn glass slides, copies of drawings by Henry Moore, Picasso and others, it’s a selection that looks like it could have been put together to say something about the diversity of drawing approaches. It also includes some slides which are collages of coloured plastic which may have been used to project colour onto subject matter, Other slides show what look like in work in progress experiments in drawing onto glass slides. It’s a box full of intrigue; who used it? put it together ?, when ?. It’s a well worn item, many of the slides are put together in a rough and ready fashion-drawn over and taped together-separated by fat and dusty felt squares- and the smell of it alone tells the something of the story of the art school!

The box is now part of the glass slide collection housed within the VR centre, what feels important is how this story emphasises the continual shift in the decisions we make about the value and importance of objects and their preservation. The responsibility of keeping and maintaining an already existing archive through liminal periods when its worth and relevance may be uncertain can be challenging.

Our abilities and the technology to decipher and view archives advances through time, who knows what the extensive collection of images in the VR centre will reveal or who they will be useful to. It seem obvious that the collection would tell us something about about art school practices of the late 20th century but it may also tell us something else entirely.

“ As much as and more than a thing of the past, before such a thing, the archive should call into question the coming of the future”.

Derrida, Jacques. Archive Fever. Trans. Eric Prenowitz. Chicago: U of Chicago Press. 1998. Print.

Joan Beadle- Senior Lecturer/Foundation Studies/Manchester School of Art


Natasha Howes: F.U…

I love this piece of furniture as it calls to mind a past era when it was de rigueur to have a daily cocktail hour. How civilised – they knew how to get the work / life balance right. I think it is something that should be resurrected, and if I had this cabinet in my house, I would make use of it everyday at 6pm.

Natasha Howes
Curator, Manchester Art Gallery

Ash van Dyck: OF4.9

I chose this particular slide for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that handwriting is becoming a lost art, a skill no longer practiced by many due to the presence of laptops, phones and other such digital convenience and this is taking away a vital hands on activity from the knowledge base of many people. This is also not a “modern” plastic slide but an older paper one. I personally really enjoy the uniqueness of the paper slides in the collection, they show all the different companies that used to make them with their own designs and are, to me, on par with the content in terms of visual appeal. They provide a frame for the images as well as another level of interest to look at. Sometimes I am more interested in these paper frames than the images contained therein, to be honest.

This one is a handwriting sample of King Charles the 1st, a man known for his missives and in particular ciphers with which he corresponded with his wife Henrietta, among others in times of trouble, perhaps with valid concern for his own safety. This one is a snippet of a note written to Newcastle (info in link) Newcastle

The connection to my family in that the official portraitist to this king was a painter relation of mine is also a reason I chose this. John and I were looking for a portrait of Anthony van Dyck and could not find one in the collection, it would seem they are among a number that have been stored for the time being so I found myself, as I usually do in the VRC, just sifting through the many boxes on top of the cabinets when I found this one by chance, well, I thought.. that worked out better than expected, we had a chuckle about it and thus my selection was made!

I haven’t really got anything profound or academic to say about this honestly but the manner of its discovery by me is exactly the reason we need this collection to be here, how are people going to have these fabulous moments of discovery and chance, serendipitous findings that may change the course of their work if they don’t have access to the collection?
They won’t and it will be a bland world indeed.

Ash van Dyck
1st Year Student, Interactive Arts
Manchester School of Art