Sam Cotter

September 10 - October 15, 2016

The genesis for Carousel stems from an archive of 35mm slides deaccessioned from a university where they were, until recently, used as a pedagogical tool to teach the history of photography. Numbering close to 5,000, the slides chart photographic history from proto-photography to the beginning of the 21st century.

Cotter's interest in the slides lies in the paradoxical way the images are used to present a linear view of history while the apparatus used in the classroom -the slide carousel - is itself inherently circular. Like cogs in a wheel, these slides have aged through time and use, and yet the images they contain hold a relatively fixed place in the western canon of photographic history. Cotter re-animates the slides by drawing on the slide lecture format of "contrast and compare" to forge new associations and reflect on issues of circulation, context and meaning-making.

Through photography, video and slide projection, Carousel employs the slide archive as a crucible for looking at both the permeability of history and the illusive nature of photographic representation.

To read an essay by the artist, click here.

Sam Cotter is a Toronto-based artist whose practice exists at the intersection of research, text, and image. Cotter regularly employs photography, film, and installation to examine issues of visual representation and artifice. Central to the construction of all of his projects is an embedded documentary element mediated through a self-reflexive filter. Recent exhibitions and projects include Reciprocity - a failure to communicate, a special commission for C Magazine's participation at the L.A. Art Book Fair (2015), Spit and Image at Ryerson Image Centre (2014) and An Exhibition (with Fraser McCallum) at Xpace Cultural Centre (2014). Cotter received a BFA from Ryerson University in 2012 and is currently a candidate in the Master of Visual Studies Program at the University of Toronto.

The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.