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Title: Feminist Net-work : digitization and performances of the Women's Art Library slide collection
Author: Greenan, Althea
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 0863
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2018
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The Women’s Art Library (WAL) slide collection embodies a singular culturally important feminist achievement that began with artists collecting their slides of artwork to form a public resource in the 1970s. Today it is the historical core of the WAL, a heavily consulted resource in the Special Collections of the Library at Goldsmiths, University of London. However, 35mm slides have become a challenging material to use and as in other art archives, the slides are seen as less useful and potentially replaceable by a digital image collection. This practice-based research explored the production of digital records from slides in order to expand on how digitization can capture a wide range of data from the slide, its production, and labelling. Beginning with a digital photography project ‘walking’ through sections of the WAL slide collection, I reproduced slides experimentally through print, video and 3D objects to discover the performativity of the slides in different analogue and digital environments of public exchange. These diverse visualizations work with the whole slide object and draw attention to the artist-inscribed mount that frames the film transparency depicting artwork. The research thus reveals the important material of the artists’ slide collection that is excluded from the final images representing digitized slide collections created using standard scanning procedures. This methodology reactivates the artists’ slides from the stasis of archive to recall their primary function as distributable images and reconsiders how the slides currently represent the artists who made them. This follows a detailed review of how slide collections and cultural heritage materials are digitized to support international studio, critical and historical art scholarship and engage with digital network culture. Recovering the slide mount and the women artists’ inscriptions is shown to endow the WAL slide collection with a cultural importance that is independent of what the slides’ images represent. The artists’ slides collectively produce a distinct syntax that expresses the complexity and individuality of individual artists’ practices in the context of and transformed by the feminist project. The research reframes the legacy of the WAL slide collection from its images to its performativity, showing how the slides are communicative tools for women artists’ participation in a political project raising the visibility of all women’s art. This re-presents the WAL slide collection as a performative site of ongoing feminist intervention and participation in culture unbound by fixed standards of value set by the dominant canon, digital or otherwise.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available