Home - 2.3 Technological equipment 2.3.2 Slide projectors

2.3 Technological Equipment

2.3.2 Slide projectors


The case study involving the slide projector used in Tlön by Christine Davis is representative of an artist’s hesitation to replace a technological component. This hesitation is due to the particular effect produced by this type of projector as well as its historical positioning in the evolution of such technologies (the precise moment in history when analog and digital technologies overlapped). This case is a good example of the challenges faced by curators and conservators.

In 2008, Richard Gagnier and Émilie Boudrias, members of the DOCAM Conservation and Preservation Committee, interviewed the artist about her work. During the interview, Davis made reference to the exact slide projector model used to exhibit Tlön – the Kodak Ektapro. Only this model is capable of running the fade-in fade-out software program. The MMFA currently owns two of these projectors, which will soon be obsolete, as production of them ceased in 2004. They have been clearly designated for exhibition of this particular work, and the museum is seeking to purchase two extra Ektapro projectors to serve as replacements.

The strategy adopted is therefore to purchase and store slide projectors identical to the originals. The main advantage of this strategy is that it preserves the work’s authenticity and integrity; its components and operating mode do not change. However, in the case of Tlön, this approach remains a problem, as the industry no longer produces the replacement equipment (slide projector). Purchasing this equipment on the second-hand market is the only way to secure replacements for those in use or in storage. The main drawback of storing obsolete equipment is that the work will perish once the temporary equipment no longer works and its maintenance can no longer be guaranteed.