Grouper is a computational interface design, i.e. a web-based platform supporting researchers working with (visual) digital collections. The significance of this platform is about the positioning of researchers and offering them the possibility to create, manage and visualise a collection within their research process. Digital collections are central to the work with an early visualisation facility that allows for iterations in a way where visualisation becomes researching rather than a showcase at the end of research. Focusing on the Izmir International (Trade) Fair and ephemera collections that define an important period in Izmir's history, this study and Grouper ask: ‘How can digital tools help to trace, piece together and make sense of the design heritage of the Izmir International Fair, which includes a wide range of design practices and objects spread across nine decades?’ Working with the ephemera of the Izmir International Fair propels new conceptual and practical additions to Grouper, emphasizing the concepts of ‘assemblage (collection of collections)’ and ‘collaboration’. Thanks to the Grouper computational interface, the object-Fair can be observed through a new lens offered by the multiplicity of visual ephemera included in the assemblage and collaboration as a result of collection(s) from multiple sources and people. This lens of Grouper allows the creation of a content and narrative that was not previously available and enables to reenact the transitory moments of Izmir International Fair. Throughout this work, notions of transience and permanence accompany us in piecing ephemera together, in digitising collections, in Grouper's loose, flexible, modular structured research process, and in the persistence of transient objects and memories in new narratives.
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