Slideluck Potshow Dublin 2012

Slideluck Potshow* is about to happen in Dublin for the first time in conjunction with the PhotoIreland Festival on the 12th July, following their global success including rolling shows in New York and recent shows in London.
If you wish to join them in Dublin for an evening of photographic slideshows then don't forget to bring a dish to share.
Kate Nolan, the founder for the Dublin Slideluck Potshow, put us in touch with Cristina De Middel, who presented, Made In at the London SLPS. and who will preview her new slideshow at Dublin's SLPS in conjunction with the launch of her new book Afronauts.

1. Cristina, what was the first 'slideshow' work you put together and why did you decide to work in this platform?

The first time I decided to use a slide show was for the series “ We Trust” that was included in one of the “Cíclope mecánico´s” programs (a Spanish monthly event of multimedia screenings in Sevilla). I had done a video edition long ago at University and for me it was the perfect excuse to rediscover the platform and to update my skills. I was forced into it with a very specific deadline, but happy about it when it was done. I insist: “when it was done”, because the whole process was painful. I had to start over again and again because I felt I was not getting the best out of that new platform and I really had to reset my mind and modify my still image settings.

2. The work changes greatly from a group of still images into a moving story. Do you consider this before creating the work?

I am now more aware of the fact that every important project I start is going to include a multimedia piece at the end, so I think about it when I am producing the series. I capture ambient sound and some footage that can work as a pause or as a prolongation for some of the images. That is, images that could work on their own but get more powerful if you give them some extra time. I use the same composition and point of view as if they were still but use video to give that extra information about what is really going on. I am still experimenting and haven't found a good and universal solution but I am more and more happy with the results.

3. With Made In it seems that the work was made specifically for slideshow work? How did you go about making this work and then combining the images, sound and so on?

Well, this was the first project I really started with the idea of a slideshow in mind and it is actually my first serious “engagement” with the new format. My intention, apart form the whole list of different features I was documenting in China, to make a multimedia with the strange feeling that I had when I was there. It is about my impressions as a foreigner and I was looking for weird and strange situations that could translate that feeling. It sometimes happens that the action taking place cannot be completely translated with just a still image and for these specific situations I used video.

Then comes the hardest part: editing. I really struggle to combine the correct images and to find the sound I am looking for. Maybe the audio part is the hardest because it is a world completely unknown for me and it is a very important part of the composition. I make plenty of tests and start over many times before I come to something I am somehow happy with. At the beginning I could spend 15 days obsessed with the editing and then came the technical issues. Now I am getting faster and I start to enjoy the whole process.

4. Tell us a little about the idea behind Made In.

See MADE IN here

I went to China for a couple of months with a couple of projects in mind and I was again asked by El Cíclope Mecánico to create a new multimedia project for them. I decided then that I would create a general portrait of that amazing country from a very personal point of view. Not focusing on a specific subject but rather on the feeling of continuous astonishment that came all the way with me. It became a collection of Chinese oddities form a western point of view, a catalogue of habits and circumstances that I did not understand at the time and deliberately superficial in terms of documentation.

5. Talk to us a bit about Afronauts and the choices in visualising that bit of history.

Well, probably The Afronauts is the most “motion based” project I have ever done. It is actually a story that would better be told in a movie… So it was kind of hard to think about the images and then add a rhythm and a narrative literacy afterwards. It worked together with a fantastic photographer and editor, Laia Abril, who gave me a new perspective that I really needed after spending so much time inside the project. We had to make a lot of editorial choices and we had to decide which genre the movie would be: comedy, sci-fi, drama, historic… Again, we tried many things and came up with a solution that I am very happy with. One of the things I like the most about The Afronauts is how it generates mixed feelings of laughter, pity and skepticism and I was definitely decided to create a piece that didn´t lose that multi-dimensional feature. We used archival footage from different sources and played with music, ambient sound and the images from the series until we found what we were exactly looking for.


6. How did you find working on Afronauts as both a slideshow and a book? Differences in working?

The Afronauts

Well the process is basically the same: you have a series of images and you need to make decisions until you feel you have taken advantage of the platform you are using to tell the story the best you can. The book and the multimedia piece needed both a very careful narrative sequence. You need to consider that the time you need to read a picture in a book and in a slideshow are completely different, so we adapted the sequence to each platform in order to obtain the same ambiguous effect. It was the same 3 people (Laia Abril, the editor, Ramon Pez, the art director and me) working on both projects at the same time, and there are no gratuitous solutions in any of them. I was very lucky to count on their support because the multimedia platform is still unknown territory for me.  I am learning now faster and start being really exigent with the results, which I think is the best way of improving your skills.

7. Tell us a little bit about the difficulties and pleasures of working in this platform.

Well, for me it has been a complete discovery because I was starting to relax myself technically with photography and this is again a new necessary challenge. It can be really frustrating at the beginning, specialy when you try to compose multimedia from a series of photographs that was not conceived for that platform. It is also very hard to include music or ambient sound and not to fall into the trap of playing my favorite tune and showing my favorite pictures, which is something I definitely think we have to stop doing. I think we have to give a step forward and understand the huge potential that a sequence with a certain rhythm and audio do have in the way of presenting our story. We have to turn ourselves into movie-makers that work on the basis of unique frames and video inserts that compose a singular way of telling a story. I think we are just at the beginning of something bigger…something that doesn't yet have a suitable name: slide show?? multimedia?

*Slideluck Potshow is a mash-up of a slideshow and a potluck.  Mixing things up is an essential component their work. SLPS brings diverse groups of people, artwork, food, and perspectives together under one roof. Each event is localised in the sense that emerging and established artists from a community present work to that community.  Guest curators for Dublin SLPS are: Louise Clements, Co-founder and Artistic Director/Curator of FORMAT International Photography Festival and Peggy Sue Amison, Artistic Director at Sirius Art Centre Cobh. 

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