Four magic lanterns are mounted on cinderblocks, projecting black and white imagery.

On one wall, a man in a bowler hat stands in a tobacco field. The plants almost eclipse him. On the other wall, two projected images gently overlap. At the left, two grubs are unburied in dry soil. At the right, skeletal trees and burned houses sprout from ashes and matchwood; the soldiers at the center of the image are nearly indistinguishable from the ground.

Video of installation.

Note: some shots have a flickering effect which may affect photosensitive viewers. (0:55-1:13)

Each lantern has a large flat acrylic lens on an aluminum track, which is separated from the 3D-printed chassis holding the slide and the light source. This open-face design allows the viewer to examine the original slide.

On the third wall, a project casts the image of a large storeroom. Light spills in from a window on the left, appearing like a tangible geometric volume amidst all the dust. There is a large pile of round white forms stretching up to the rafters: beets. This is a sugar factory.
The projection-based installation uses glass photographic slides, collected on eBay in early 2020. This collection was borne out of an interest in representations of landscapes during pandemics.
All of the images were taken during the period of the so-called Spanish flu, between 1918 and the early 1920s.

The technology for the magic lantern projector dates back to the 17th century. The magic lantern is a product of the development of optics during the so-called scientific revolution and the enlightenment period.

In this iteration, light from a high power LED is condensed with a simple magnification lens, illuminating the glass photographic slide. Using a large Fresnel lens, the image is focused onto the gallery wall.

Planned to accommodate social-distancing protocols, the exhibit is visible from the street after sunset.

The title of the show, Reminder, is taken from the language for push notifications on the eBay mobile app.

“The very existence of the archive constitutes a constant threat to the state. The reason is simple. More than on its ability to recall, the power of the state rests on its ability to consume time, that is, to abolish the archive and anesthetize the past.”
Achille Mbembe, The Power of the Archive and its Limits
"That fire (candle lantern) was employed to deter fire (burning the city down) is not without irony."
Simone Browne, Dark Matters
"...The necropolitical landscape of life after life: life lived in the shadows of mass extinctions amid mass incarceration and a state of near-permanent war; life lived at the edges of livability under the sentence of disposability and imminent death; and life barely lived in forced exposure to heightened vulnerability exacerbated by a politics of slow death."
Jill H Casid, Doing Things with Being Undone
Reminder (On the Cultivation of Decay)
Magic lantern slides, high powered LED, lenses, 3D printed components, extruded aluminum
2020 | Dimensions variable
Collaboration on design and fabrication: Ken Flanagan
Video footage and editing support: Ben Orozco
This exhibition was made with support in part by a grant from Dane Arts, with additional funding from the Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.