The art of history slides


Perla Lara

The Tracey Weiss Foundation for Art Research Bazaar exhibit titled “Carousel” on Saturday, Jan. 28. The sculptures and room set up took about one week to create and brought an un expected interaction as exhibit viewers played with the slides and took some home as mementos. Photo credit: Perla Lara

Perla Lara

If there were one word to describe Tracey Weiss slide exhibit “Carousel” for the Foundation for Art Resources Bazaar event, it is nostalgia.

Weiss transformed the small room that stored art history slides and carousels away from view in shelfs into a space to display the slides as art sculptures.

Her inspiration for her art sculptures came, “From the room itself; this was the slide library so all of the slides that you see here were all here. They were going to throw them away because everything is digital now they don’t use them anymore and so all of this was going to be trash so I said ‘I’ll take the slides.’

I took a lot of them home and I started pre making some of the sculptures and then I brought them back. I used all of the boxes and carousels everything was still in here, it’s completely based on the room itself.”

Weiss is an adjunct ceramics instructor at Cerritos College, the change in material for her art is part of what made creating the exhibit fun.

“It’s very different. I’ve actually been doing a lot of mixed media and found objects art lately in the last few years, but this is really fun because it’s so spontaneous and ceramics is very processed you have to fire everything and drawing time and go through a lot. This took a lot of time but it was very immediate so it was fun for me different.

The room caused different reactions from different age groups. In the older generations Weiss saw clear signs of nostalgia and a connection with the old slide technology.

“It’s actually been really interesting because there’s such a range in ages coming through that I find that some of the people that are older have a nostalgia for the slides and say ‘oh I remember when I was teaching, or when I was in school we would use the slides’ and then all the way down to young people that are 20 that don’t even know what they are. A lot of people don’t realize what they are so I kind of explain to them that before PowerPoint this is what you would use. They sort of get it ‘oh I think I know what you’re talking about’ but they’re sort of entranced by them even if they don’t really have a history with them,” Weiss said.

That entrancement was seen as people couldn’t resist the urge to touch and play with scattered slides that Weiss left throughout the room.

“people came in and picked up the slides to look at the photo it had, the slides on display in the light box were constantly changed, and some people asked to take a slide they like,” she continued.

Fun, love and sadness are mixed together as people walked into the room saw and touched the slides.

Weiss said, “I talked to a woman yesterday who when she was in school she actually worked at the slide library and her job was […] to keep everything organized and cataloged and that’s what she did so she really loved it. Some people are kind of sad too because it’s a reminder that it’s all going away. So it’s kind of a mix of fun and excited and there’s a sadness too. I felt exactly the same way when I was doing it, partially sad and partially really fun.”

Theater Major, Ana Gomez who saw the exhibit from the first set up stages to its completion agreed with Weiss’s feeling of melancholy.

she said, “I like the little cubes that she designed and built. I think it’s so cool to unearth something that past students, generations of students technically have learned from. Now that the building is being demolish it’s kind of like a funeral in a way.”

Weiss has decided to keep some of the slide sculptures for herself and possibly use them again in her future work.