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