Blackout illuminates forgotten histories

17 December 2018

Still: Her Luminous Distance, Aura Satz


Blackout illuminates forgotten histories

17 December 2018

Historical amnesia and the afterlife of the carousel slide projector.

Blackout will feature as part of Deep Focus at our 48th edition in 2019, an exhibition at Kunsthal Rotterdam and a series of performances highlighting contemporary artists’ works using the “forgotten” 35mm carousel slide projector. Blackout relates to historical amnesia or collectively suppressed memories, which the artworks will call for us to remember.

Kodak terminated the production of the 35mm carousel slide projectors over a decade ago in 2004. Now considered obsolete, the slide projector has come to evoke the past. You might remember this machine from your grandparents’ photo collection, the historical archive, or from lectures in art school; then again, some of you might have never seen one before. Nevertheless, slide-based works still feature regularly in art galleries and new works continue to be made with the medium. In the age of swipe and scroll, the “forgotten” medium in the history of media technology give us a moment to consider what we actually lose or gain in the digital evolution.

In IFFR 2019’s Deep Focus programme Blackout, you’ll get to see what the slide projector can offer in today’s media landscape. Celebrating the heritage of the medium, Blackout will focus entirely on the contemporary by presenting works made since 2004. While concerned with media archaeology, the exhibition also considers historical amnesia in a sociopolitical context. Many artists use the 35mm slide to illuminate lost or deliberately forgotten histories, reminding us the slide medium was not only used for holiday photos but also as pedagogical tools by colonial powers. The works featured in Blackout see artists take history into their own hands.











“The title of the exhibition refers to forgotten or hidden moments in history as well as the intermittent moments of darkness between the individual projected slides. The works selected all explore historical memory from a personal perspective as an alternative to the simplified narratives of history”, says programmer Julian Ross.

Blackout will feature an exhibition of slide-based works by a line-up of international artists at Kunsthal Rotterdam; a special performance by American interdisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith; and a number of late-night audio-visual performances as part of sound//vision at WORM Rotterdam.


  • Between a Gaze and a Gesture, Hannah Dawn Henderson, 2017, United Kingdom/Netherlands
  • Fossil Locomotion, Floris Vanhoof, 2016, Belgium

  • Her Luminous Distance, Aura Satz, 2014, United Kingdom

  • Landscape Series #1, Nguyen Trinh Thi, 2013, Vietnam
  • A Man Called Love, Tamar Guimarães, 2008, Brazil

  • Mneme, Raha Raissnia, 2017, USA

  • Non-chronological History, Prapat Jiwarangsan, 2013, Thailand

  • Recollections of Long Lost Memories, Ahmad Fuad Osman, 2007, Malaysia
  • Sedimentation of Memory, Kristina Benjocki, 2017, Netherlands

  • Space Station: Rainbow Ihnfinity, Cauleen Smith, 2014, USA
  • Srinagar, Praneet Soi, 2014, India/Netherlands


Sunday 27 January

  • Black Utopia LP, Cauleen Smith, 2012, USA

sound//vision performances:

Thursday 24 January

  • Spectral Landscape, Luis Macias (with Alfredo Costa Monteiro), 2015, Spain

Saturday 26 January

  • Mneme II, Raha Raissnia (with Panagiotis Mavridis), 2016, USA

  • Galvanoscope, Raha Raissnia (with Panagiotis Mavridis), 2018, USA

Sunday 27 January

  • Taran, Jiří Rouš/David Šmitmajer/František Týmal, 2018, Czech Republic  

This exhibition is part of Julian Ross’ research supported by the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at University of Westminster. A variation of this exhibition will be held at Ambika P3, London, March 2019 and Greylight, Brussels, April 2019.


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