The exhibition JORGE MARÇAL DA SILVA – THE IMMERSIVE DIMENSION proposes to present the documentary and photographic assets of the surgeon and amateur photographer, highlighting and maintaining throughout the exhibition the preference for capturing stereo images through his Jules Richard verascope stereo camera.
Following the donation of the collection to the Lisbon City Council, by the photographer’s family, represented by his grandson Dr. Manuel Mendes Silva, an exhibition or other dissemination initiative was immediately considered.
Having the collection in the custody of the Lisbon Municipal Archive – Photographic, the treatment and study of it has begun with the aim of incorporating and making available in the institution’s database all the documentation, as well as developing the concept of an exhibition.
Taking into account the significant number of stereoscopic glass plates – autochromes, negatives and positives, far greater than the number of single-lens negatives, of prints (different media), the exhibition has as its differentiating motto the presentation and dissemination of the author and the context of his photographic production, valuing this fascinating aspect, which allows to simulate the human binocular vision, that is, the creation of 3D images.
Thus, it presents an opportunity to focus attention on the stereoscopic component of this collection, following the success of the exhibition The Third Image – Stereoscopic Photography in Portugal and the Desire of 3D, held in 2015, resulting from the survey and study of the collections of stereoscopic photography from Portuguese museums and public archives, a project carried out by Stereo Visual Culture (CICANT, Lusófona University) which had the Municipal Archive of Lisbon| Photographic and the m|I|mo (Leiria’s Moving Image Museum) as co-organizers.
There are other elements in this collection, such as contact prints, packaging boxes (glass and paper for prints), as well as a set of register books, methodically created by Jorge Marçal da Silva, where you can find compiled notes and other information that the photographer collected and gathered from specialist publications on stereoscopy at the time.
In 2019, Jorge Marçal da Silva’s family delivered to the Archive, as a deposit, a filing cabinet as well as its contents composed of 991 stereoscopic positives – verascope format.
Following the organization of the exhibition, a second deposit was made, expanding the exhibition possibilities by providing a projector/amplifier – Ruby Enlarger and a Taxiphote, both from Jorge Marçal da Silva.
The Taxiphote, which contained 211 stereoscopic positives properly stored inside in the respective drawers, and which were accompanied by a small manuscript notebook, indicating the themes and locations of the glasses to be viewed.
These new elements (glass plates and historical devices) confirming the focus of the exhibition and consequently the concept and its design/ layout.
With numerous temporary interruptions, due to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a conditioning factor for the study of a collection of this typology, namely due to the issues involving the viewing of glass plates, the documental treatment of the collection has been carried out and executed conservation and restoration interventions, namely cleaning, disinfestation of wood (filers and storage boxes), digitalization/photography and packaging of glass plates in conservation material.
In parallel, the first surveys and selections were carried out to create the sequences and the nuclei to be presented in the exhibition, bearing in mind the approach to the stereoscopic and consequently immersive dimension that is intended to be highlighted.
The exhibition JORGE MARÇAL DA SILVA – THE IMMERSIVE DIMENSION, which is scheduled for the second half of 2022, aims to provide various experiences and levels of relationship between the audience and stereoscopic images, so it will include a heterogeneous selection of historical viewers (for the stereoscopic images) as well as other current equipment or devices that will allow the viewing of stereo and mono images.
In order to contextualize Jorge Marçal da Silva photographic production, original single-lens prints and current photographic prints will also be presented, as well as personal objects.
The project is curated by Sofia Castro and Vitor Gens from the Lisbon Municipal Archive – Photographic and consultancy by Victor Flores, researcher in early visual media at the Center for Research in Applied Communication, Culture and New Technologies (CICANT).
Along with the exhibition, the publication of a bilingual catalog is planned.