Invisible Knowledge

In this talk Greenan presents her research into the Women’s Art Slide Library (WSL), part of the special collection at Goldsmiths University. Greenan explores the Women’s Art Slide library as a site of resistance in terms of feminist discourses that consider the nature of knowledge, culture and power. As part of this she describes on her role as curator of the collection caring for over twenty thousand slides. She asserts her work has been focused on extending the efficacy of WSL on behalf of women ‘I rarely meet yet through their slides I become a part of their art practice, a collaborator in consolidation of their work’. She continues ‘they have absorbed me and engendered a sense of responsibility to those many art practices I know the slides embody in absolutely unique ways.’ She reflects on the experience of moving with the collection as its status changed from that of an independent organization to an academic collection. Furthermore, she dwells on the process of trying to digitalize the collection.

This transition from analogue to digital raises concerns around the politics of the collection as well as many questions around the nature of visibility in a digital age. She confesses that the failure of the digital project acts as an inspiration for her current research. This research draws her to engage with the mass of slide files differently, listening for the rhetorical space created by the collective and making the slides strange in order to appreciate the elegant properties of the material. Greenan’s presentation flicks between digital images and a slide carousel, which acts out of time, haunting the session.

Finally, she asks what else can a politically motivated slide collection represent besides artworks? She gathers the audience together in order to perform an exercise in remembering, a kind of call and response, which involves us each in reciting the name of an artist from the collection. In response Greenan reads the work titles so that the sound of the collection travels around the CCA space. 

Audio Title: 
Invisible Knowledge Talk by Althea Greenan
Audio Accession Number: 
AW. 005
Audio Speaker: 
Althea Greenan
Audio Annotation: 
This talk was presented as part of the Invisible Knowledge programme co-convened by Emma Balkind, Tiffany Boyle and Viviana Checiana
Audio Location: 
Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow
Audio Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2016
Audio Duration: 
Audio Type: 
Public Talk
Audio Technical: 
Audio Recording type: 
Zoom recording in room