I have recently received arts council funding for this project ‘Part Coded and the Bi-Visual’ here’s a brief introduction.
I will undertake a period of research into children’s Victorian Magic Lantern slides, projections and their narratives from which I will develop a responsive remix of text based and visual artwork. The research will rigorously explore the social implications of these toys and their uses in factual learning and how they supported The Empire values, ethics and morals of the day in juxtaposition with contemporary values, ethics and morals. Visuals will be in different print forms and have undergone distinct transformations and chemical alterations. I will consider re-projections of the work. Responses will be shown in exhibitions regionally.
The first day in the Chemistry lab at Hull University with Dr Mark Lorch gave us some interesting, really unexpected but fabulous results and a way forward. By firstly experimenting with Tollen’s Agent (a silver based solution that is used traditionally in making mirrors/christmas tree baubles) over digital, glossy inkjet prints. This initially created a dark orange based ‘test-strip’ so some adjustment to times and a few more tests showed how the base material of this chemical stripped the coating from the print and then the silvering got to work.
When we tried with a full size print in Tollen’s solution, after an experimental diversion into droplets of ammonia and a couple of different acids, a pretty incredible thing happened.
When the solution was poured from the print to be washed off, there was an image on the back, but not an image that could have come from the front! There appeared an image transfer from a print stored underneath now coated in a metallic silver on the reverse of the print. Awesome!!!
Next week I will be in the lab again trying to replicate and formalise this new technique from experimentation. Reverse Silver Printing! Exciting times ahead!
On Saturday 16th May I travelled to Grimsby to speak at The Lightlines Conference whose theme this year was Sight & Site. Featured artists were Jo Booth, Bradford, Gill Hobson, Grimsby, David Cotterrell, London and myself. I gave an overview of my interests and how I have used found footage from the Connection series of diptychs in 2009 to begin using personal family images and questioning whether across the board we record in similar ways and if stored photographs within families are the same. These home and family memories led me to thinking about how we display these, from the slide shows I remember from the 1970’s further back via cine film and pre cinema to the produced Kinora reels, the Lumiere brothers home movie machine used by the ‘middle classes’. I sourced some of these reels and produced photographic prints from these e.g. The Bumps. The Kinora used a circular flick book mechanism as did the larger more engineered mutoscope. I, as a collaboration with my father, an engineer, designed and re-engineered a mutoscope which housed an animation and also played out a text critiquing contemporary models of display. Considering all these old modes of display and their embedded cultural codes I sought out specifically children’s magic lantern slides and began experimenting with superimposition and enlarging. Some of these works were part of Gaia Tedone’s symposium at Whitechapel Gallery July 2014. These were also accompanied by a film and live reading performance. This has all given the groundwork for this project ‘Part Coded and the Bi-visual’ and the research and practical investigations now beginning.
The conference was a really inspiring day and potential collaborations are in the pipeline. The other speakers were enlightening and intriguing and the audience and Abbey Walk Gallery, Grimsby very generous with their time, hospitality, interest and questions.