A World Slide Show, Milan


A lecture without words at the Instituto Europea di Design


The first lecture invitation I accepted was from the Instituto Europeo di Design in Milan. I decided not to say anything. I had been collecting books with interesting visual material for a few years and some of the images in them had been inspirational or influential in my work. I decided to make a slide show of all the images which had made an impression on me. I expanded it with images from books at the Royal College Library and used their flat-bed camera to make the slides. In the end I had 160 images on two Kodak carousels, which I projected alternately so each image had two partners. I gave it the title A World Slide Show and Emanuele Soldini, who had invited me, announced that I was going to show some images of inspiration without making any comment and that after the show I would be in the bar across the road if anyone wanted to discuss it. It worked out fine, with a good enough reaction to convince me to carry on refining it.

I showed it again in Valencia, this time accompanied by a video of some old black-and-white film footage of a French philosopher waving his arms and talking about sex. This was altogether too much for the Spanish students, who didn’t seem to get the message, and I was obliged to stay behind and explain myself. Finally I put together a selection of sentimental songs from different parts of the world, which has remained the soundtrack for the slide show.

Jasper wrote this postcard to his friend Paul soon after the lecture in Milan, telling him: I delivered my talk and slide show with trepidation and answered questions on technique and approach etc in the bar across the road.