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The University of Southampton
Critical Practices Research Group

S L I P

SLIP was a  participatory artwork specially devised for Itinerant Objects at Tate Exchange by artist Jane Birkin. The project came directly out of the archive, where systems of carbon-copied slips are frequently used to record when and why things are moved, and, importantly, where they are moved to and from.

By filling out a slip each time an object was moved around the floor, and placing one copy in the SLIP file box, participants were able to contribute to a collaboratively produced database designed to retrospectively reveal where, when and why the various objects brought into the space were moved and how they interacted. And, by placing the carbon copy in a bright red pocket, the exact place where the object was moved from could be marked, allowing a live tracking of objects as they shifted around Tate Exchange.

As well as gathering important information on the movement of objects around the space, the project revealed that notions of ‘memory’ and ‘trace’ are not simply restricted to ‘archived’ objects themselves, but are equally present in the systems that control them. SLIP was given a test run in the Winchester Gallery at Winchester School of Art, as part of the beta testing for the Tate programme. The project will be continued using data collected from both iterations of SLIP.

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Jane Birkin is an artist, designer and scholar, and a visiting lecturer and postdoctoral research assistant at Winchester School of Art. She also works in Special Collections at the University of Southampton, as exhibition designer and curator. The structures and the performative procedures of the archive inform both her interdisciplinary practice and her writing. Birkin unfolds the term ‘archive’ through information management; through the grey literature of descriptions and lists; and through contemporary discourse on art, media culture and conceptual writing. She has exhibited and published widely and she is currently working on an academic monograph, Photography and the Archive: the Administrative Language of the Image, to be published by Routledge in early 2020.

Winchester School of Art at Tate ExchangeItinerant Objects at Tate Exchange
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