HISTORY LESSONS

2018

77 antique magic lantern slides attached to a 50” flat screen. a smaller version of this work has 24 slides on a 32″ monitor (see video)

In this work I present sets of grids each made of 24 antique magic lantern slides from the late 19th century- early 20th century that are back illuminated by video footage of flashes of lightning. Photographic lantern slides took off in the late 19th century as a popular form of entertainment, and in addition to educators, missionaries and salespeople soon began to use Magic Lantern slides to visually entice the audience while educating, spreading their messages, and making sales. In this sense, lantern slides were a kind of precursor to the Power Point presentations. These slides were used as an illusion of objectivity and they were intended to give a precise, accurate depictions of places and things.

These large format slides cannot be seen unless they are back lit. I chose to illuminate them with footage of lightning to make them appear momentarily before they become dark again. Like a passing memory that appears for an instant in the present. The lighting also connects the technological with the natural.
I examine through these images the modern project of ruling over nature understood as resource . I bring to the surface a buried history. An awaking from colonial amnesia, revealing what the world was like following the turning point of the industrial revolution.
Im also interested in the the materiality of the magic lantern slide and digital video and their connection to mining and colonizing. The earth as an archive is the afterglow of the scientific and technological culture.
The images in the slides are from Palestine and the Americas. They are of mining, indigenous people, slaves, hunting, and immigrant plants.

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