ARLIS 50th anniversary event: Viva Las Projectionistas

Viva Las Projectionistas: ARLIS celebrates women’s art through slides and slides through women’s art

Centre for Contemporary Art, Goldsmiths, University of London

Wednesday, 30 October 2019: 4-6pm

This event, organised by Althea Greenan, and Antonia Lewis from Goldsmiths Library and Special Collections, brought together practitioners and students from Goldsmiths and beyond to look back at the 35mm colour slide through the ongoing work — sometimes struggle — of teaching and discovering women artists.

Viva Las Projectionistas took place in the Oak Foundation space at the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Goldsmiths. With contributions from Lauren Craig, Gisou Golshani, Catherine Grant, Emma Louise Hollaway, Agata Hosnova, Mia Kordova and Astrid Schmetterling, the evening consisted of simultaneous projections, installations, talks and performance.  The event opened from 4-6pm and had a stream of approximately 40 visitors, not including members of the public visiting the CCA and looking down from the mezzanine on to the spectacle of the slides.

Four projectors were set up in the space: three Kodak carousel slide projectors and one data projector. Three were running slideshows automatically while a fourth became the projector for presentations looking back on the slide as a teaching tool, or a way of experiencing art documentation and archives.

Students from Goldsmiths BA Curating course and BA Art and Art History produced complementary presentations, exploring analogue and digital ways of experiencing archives and images. This involved producing new 35mm slides from digital photos documenting the Women’s Art Library stacks, and recording an interview with Althea Greenan to present on a cassette audiotape.


Slide projector 1

Astrid Schmetterling, Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures, reflected on slides in the classroom. Her list of slides can be found under ‘Feminist Interventions is (Art ) History’ in the accompanying event leaflet.

Althea Greenan also presented some reflections on slides which had been written by Catherine Grant, Associate Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures and Senior Lecturer (Critical Studies) in Art). The transcript can be found in the exhibition leaflet.


Slide projector 2

Goldsmiths BA Curating students, Mia Kordova and Agata Hosnova, and Fine Art and History of Art student Gisou Golshani, presented their selections from the Women’s Art Library through new work inspired by analogue technology. This included slides made from digital photos taken while exploring the archive, reversing and interrogating recent practices of converting slides to digital formats.



Slide projector 3

ARLIS colleagues were also invited to fill carousels with their favourite slides of women’s art to run simultaneous projections within the space. Karen Atkinson brought a full carousel of slides from the Henry Moore Institute.


Digital projector

Lauren Craig’s tribute to the Women of Colour Index, a slide show of digitally restored 35mm slides drawn from the Women’s Art Library collection, was also shown in the space. This included the works of Black women artists who have files in the Women of Colour Index, a collection begun in the mid-1980s by Rita Keegan in collaboration with Eddie Chambers, documenting works and exhibitions of Black artists in the U.K. This critical slideshow was made in 2015 and has featured in presentations in other venues such as The Showroom, London and Arthouse, Deptford.

Coding the Image

Agata Hosnova and Marie Kordova exhibited their interactive game ‘Coding the Image’, created with slides they had selected from a teaching slide collection found in the Women’s Art Library. The game involved scanning QR codes to find clues that hinted at where each slide should be placed, creating links between them.


Trans-interference (8:00) 2019.

Gisou Golshani’s audio-collage made from cassette tapes from WAL, which have been recorded by women artists from the 1970s to the 1990s, depicted a semi-fictional narrative of women’s lived experiences and their resistance towards dominant narratives and oppression.



“It was great to hear the ways in which Goldsmiths BFA Curating students are engaging with the material held in the Women Artists Library, and so nice to hear to hear Astrid’s memories and musings on being a slide user. It rang lots of bells!”

“It was a great event yesterday and thank you for arranging for our slides to be shown. It was fantastic to see the HMI slides shown within the space, alongside slides from your collection – such wonderful resources.”

One of the best outcomes from the project, apart from helping to realise new work with Mia, Agata and Gisou –  was Karen Fletcher’s blogpost for about working with the 35mm slide. All these works indicate how the event suggests that slide collections endure and provoke.

Antonia Lewis, Althea Greenan

Goldsmiths, University of London