Obscura's first community project: Carousel Curated
Brileigh Hardcastle
Obscura DAO
March 23rd, 2022

Carousel Curated, Obscura's first community project, features a collection of found slides minted as NFTs. Co-founded by Felix Denomme and Oliver Dahl, this ongoing project aims to become the world’s largest archive of found slides, immortalizing moments of the past onto the blockchain that were otherwise left to fade away. Each “drop” of curated, tagged, and cataloged slides will contain 80 photographs, matching the tray capacity of the original Kodak Carousel.

Submission by Raoul Pascal.
Submission by Raoul Pascal.

Felix and Oliver met within the NFT photography community after being selected for Obscura’s WHO WE ARE grant and discovered their mutual interest in found slides. Both had the idea to launch their own NFT collection and decided to come together to create a collection of found slides that anyone could contribute to. Carousel Curated creates a more diverse memory of the past while echoing the decentralized nature of web3. It also makes for an easy onboarding experience into NFTs: anyone can post images of their found slides in the carousel-curated discord channel, the team will mint the works, and if selected they will receive 70% of all sales. The remaining 30% will be split between the Carousel Curated Team and the Obscura treasury to help fund future projects and grants.

When I brought up NFTs in my local community there was a lot of resistance because of the media’s negative portrayal of NFTs but after mentioning this project it was the first time people were excited and wanted to contribute.

  • Felix Denomme
Submission by Lee Jones
Submission by Lee Jones

Found slides typically date back to the mid-late 20th century, a time just before the internet was invented and mass adopted. Slide film was popularized by photojournalists and consumers to document their families, vacations, and everyday life. Oliver mentions that one of the goals of Carousel Curated is to “preserve and transport slides from the pre-internet age directly into web3 on the blockchain.” By merging the past and present, this ongoing collection will rescue abandoned slides by combining them with the emergence of NFTs, preserving them long beyond their physical shelf life.

Submission by Nyimas Laula.
Submission by Nyimas Laula.

Despite emerging from different points in history, slides and NFTs share a key overlap, their rarity. One of the values of NFTs are their uniqueness as a 1 of 1 asset, which is similar to the 1 of 1 positive that slide film produces without the need for printing. In the 19th century, the Magic Lantern was one of the first image projectors for transparencies, which has influenced many found slide exhibitions under the same name, illuminating memories of the past. Carousel Curated will continue after this first launch, displaying another 80 works following each round of submissions, coming together to form a collective archive of the human experience. These forgotten slides offer us a view into the past, after being hidden in plain sight for years. The open call received nearly 1000 submissions. “We are excited to share a global community history perspective,” says Felix, “Oliver and I curated our favorite 80 images that blend well together.”

Submission by Amy Woodward
Submission by Amy Woodward

There are many projects that preserve found images including the Anonymous Project, Flickr groups such as The Museum of Found Photographs or The Commons, and even a Facebook group dedicated to sharing and potentially identifying lost photographs to the owners. Artists have also explored the beauty and value of the vernacular, everyday life that is lost when the photographs are thrown away. In Tacita Dean's "Floh" she re-contextualizes lost family snapshot photographs as art. By incorporating properties into the NFTs, Carousel Curated provides not only a searchable index of the type of content within its growing archive, but is also curated to create a sense of flow within the works. Additionally it encourages people to go out into the world to scavenge lost slides, and submit them with the added potential to create an income from the rescue work. Instead of being left to landfills or chemical decay, it gives each of these lost images a second chance of being seen and immortalized on the blockchain.

They keep the silence of the flea market; the silence they had when they were found; the silence of the lost object

  • Steidl, publisher of Tacit Dean’s "Floh"
Submission by Matthew Brooks
Submission by Matthew Brooks

Moving forward, one of Carousel Curated’s plans from the sales will be to fund a website for easier use of searching, and browsing the images online. Felix says “we often find inspiration in the images we find, especially the interplay between them and we want to offer the public this same access. Similar to the August Sander 10k NFT collection, this project will serve as a pivotal historical moment by providing new ways to think about preserving photography and making archives more accessible to the people all over the world. The floor price for each slide will begin at .22 ETH, as a nod to the overall size of 2x2 inch slide mounts. Born as a rescue mission to save slides from ending up in landfills, there are also plans to use the funds for the acquisition of more abandoned film, as well as providing a physical display for the images.

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