While The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players and Charles Phoenix have created a new-found awareness of “found slide” art projects, Cathy Hannan has been quietly and surreptiously making her humorous and surreal found-slide presentations for nearly 15 years. In the past year she has started The Lost Slide Foundation to try and reunite these lost slides with their owners. In addition to the Lost Slides, Cathy keeps busy with lots of other projects, and her website, Lost and Frowned, is evidence of her subversive comic genius.
1. When did you start collecting slides and why?
I started collecting slides in the mid 80s, shortly after I moved to NYC. I was amazed by all the cool stuff you could find on the streets of NYC. I found a Phrenology head, a collection of amazing vintage shoes, my coffee table. I didn’t have any qualms about pawing through the trash when I first moved here. The very first slide was from when I threw my model-gold-digger roommate’s stuff out of the window, including slides of her modeling. I found one of them down the street, and I took it home because it seemed sort of embarrassing to leave it there.
2. How did you come up with the idea to turn the found slides into performance?
I showed the slides as sorta background ambience at a party one time and it just turned into a performance.
3. What’s the worst job you ever had?
I worked for a small advertising agency. The art director used steroids and would come to work in the morning hammered on screwdrivers. The president was this meek 4′ 11″ Dr Ruth type lady and she used to make me go back to the art department to determine if he was sober enough to work. He’d throw things at me.
4. It’s midnight on Saturday. Where are you and what are you doing?
I’m home, because I am an old lady now. I’m probably on the phone to NBC, leaving a message to Lorne Michaels berating him for how much he and SNL sucks. He never calls back, but I’ve been leaving him notes on the show for years.
5. If you had access to a time machine where would you go?
I would go back to 1970 and buy some real estate in SoHo which would enable me to retire at 26.