Another Year in LA Presents:
July 1 - August 31, 2021
Roman Placenta Disc, 2021
Dedicated to Stuart Spence and Diana Zlotnick
Doug Harvey's Moldy Slides
project began with a chance discovery of a cache of discarded amateur photographic transparencies dating to the 1970s in the piles of material being disposed of during an apparent hoarder intervention. The slides had been subjected to flooding and grown various types and degrees of fungal layers, altering the pictorial content of the emulsion -- sometimes slightly, sometimes transforming the image into a total abstraction. Harvey describes the resulting (washed and stabilized) artifacts as " a stochastically linked collaboration between the original vacation photographer, crazy hoarder dude, the mold, and me – plus the found and improvised soundtrack elements, and finally the audience."
The once personal narrative contained in the travel photographs had been altered, obscured and even destroyed by the natural processes of decay and the ravages of time in a manner analogous to the effects of memory loss. Harvey performs an act of détournement by transforming this pile of refuse back into a commentary on cultural amnesia and decay by using the apparatus originally intended for nostalgia.
In its performance iteration Harvey projects a curated sequence of 150 images in a slideshow accompanied by live improvisational noise music, taking on what art critic Shana Nys Dambrot called "a conceptual/semantic level, introducing issues of authorship, truth, transcendence, intention, control, chaos, narrative, meaning, and analog physicality" in a "larger conversation about photography in the digital era."
The original live Moldy Slide Show
was projected at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the Hammer Museum, UCLA, The Echo Park Film Center, and several other West Coast venues. A selection from that group were reproduced and exhibited in London through the Strange Attractor Journal
, where they were hailed by cultural commentator Adam Harper (and subsequently by WIRE Magazine) as a visual counterpart to the "hauntological" music of The Caretaker, William Basinski, Indignant Senility, and others -- invoking the philosophical spirits of Jacques Derrida and Mark Fisher.
Just prior to COVID, Harvey was engaged in a revival of the project, with several performances of a live show with a new selection of moldy slides and a solo exhibit at the California Museum of Photography, consisting of an edition made with an an anachronistic printing techniques in collaboration with The ƒ/Ø Project. Romantic Landscapes Rearranged
picks up where The Erinnerungen an Verlassene Zukünfte Suite
left off, wandering the ruins, forests and moors in a