The period after manufacturing of the slide projector ended was one of preservation and reflection. Digital libraries like ARTstor continued to digitize slide collections from artists, colleges, and museums before the analog copies become damaged or lost. Curators, like Darsie Alexander of the Baltimore Museum of Art, reflected on the use of slide projection in art. Artists like Alexander Gutke, Ceal Floyer, and Jonathan Monk made pieces that reflected back on the medium itself.
DigitizationARTstor was created in the late 1990s to assist higher education institutions migrate their analog slides to digital collections. (artstor.org)
Lily Galib, Production Associate at ARTstor and a photographer, digitizes slides with a batch scanner.
Tissue SampleIn his piece 2005 "Exploded View," Alexander Gutke set up a dual projection of the inner workings of a slide projector. The artist had a technician slice the machine while he documented it. The piece works as both an autopsy for the medium and an homage.
The WakeIn 2005, the Baltimore Museum of Art showed the first major exhibit to display how slideshows became works of art. In the catalog for the show, SlideShow, curator Darsie Alexander declares the history of slide projection over. Included in the show was "Auto Focus" (2002), pictured here, by Ceal Floyer. It is simply light projected through a slide projector. By taking away an image, she brings our attention to the object.
Bygone MomentsAlexander also said that artists use slides to turn back the clock and project histories. In "One Moment in Time (Kitchen)" (2002), Jonathan Monk is projecting our moments with obsolete technology. The piece is eighty projected color slides that have the words of what would be depicted on family slides, rather than the subjects themselves.
Monk's tongue-in-cheek piece was the original @PicturelessPins (a Twitter account that describes what you might find on Pinterest). It's looking back on what slides were used for, but does nothing to move them forward.