NITRATE NEGATIVES II
Photographs are vigorous changelings within archival collections. Ember Lundgren demonstrated for us the unstable nature of nitrate and acetate decomposition by carefully lifting the edge of a flake of negative. As we watched it slowly curl back into place, the negatives— images of people, places and events—transform. They are gooey, fused and flaky.
Nitrate Negatives II is an example of what happens when materials elude preservation measures storage in freezers. The autocatalytic nature of cellulose nitrate and acetate means that once the process of deterioration has begun, new properties are generated by the degradation, and these new properties create further degradation2. The process is unpredictable, and attests to the entropic force of the archive.