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Monday, May 16 • 10:30am - 11:00am
(Electronic Media) Slow Dissolve: Re-presenting synchronised slide-based artworks in the 21st Century

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Tate has a collection of twenty-eight slide-based artworks, and eleven of these have the added complexity of needing synchronised projectors. 35mm slide-based artworks initially appeared in the mid-to-late 20th century, at a time when magnetic audio tape and slide projectors were commonplace. Many artists adopted synchronisation technology originally used commercially in the audio-visual industry for slide-tape (or multi-image) presentations, as it enabled a means of recording and replaying slide shows using multiple projectors with the addition of a soundtrack. There were 5 main systems which were widely used by artists but are now obsolete technologies: Kodak, Electrosonic, Dataton, Stumpfl and AVL (Audio-visual Laboratories). Industry support and expertise in 35mm slide production is vanishing and the associated presentation equipment has become increasingly difficult to locate and maintain. Whilst being predictable the death of this medium provides many technical challenges as we attempt to better understand the coded synchronisation signals which enable the cross fades, slide transitions and timings for each artwork. Tate’s objective is to display these works in their original formats for as long as possible, but because of the obsolescence of both the synchronising and slide technologies, we must also investigate how to reproduce and present these works using modern technology. This paper will discuss the results of this investigation using an example from the collection, starting by comparing two of the most common control systems, AVL (Audio-visual Laboratories) and Dataton, how they work, their capabilities, the key differences and issues of compatibility. This paper will then explain the strategies that we are adopting in terms of creating and managing our slide equipment pool. One of the key aspects is trying to, where possible, adapt all artworks to run with the currently better supported Dataton system. This may impact the appearance and feel of the projection, and this will be taken in consideration when making the decision to adapt it. Because of the obsolescence of the analogue slide material, it is necessary to consider the option of showing these works digitally, this paper will conclude by explaining the options for the digital versions of these works.

This session is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation and the Clothworkers Foundation.

Speakers
avatar for Fergus O'Connor

Fergus O'Connor

Senior Conservation Technician (Time-based Media), Tate
Fergus O’Connor has been working with Time-based media artworks since 1999, specializing in analogue technology, installation, digital media, and video projection. He is currently working on the acquisition and archiving of artworks for Tate, and his current research is on legacy equipment used by contemporary artists. He is also collaborating on defining Tate's digital video preservation strategy. Fergus studied Fine Art (Sculpture) at the... Read More →


Monday May 16, 2016 10:30am - 11:00am
Room 513 D/F


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