Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Reimagining the Archive

Last weekend I attended Reimagining the Archive: Remapping and Remixing Traditional Models in the Digital Era , a symposium hosted by UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television. As a traditionally-trained archivist and librarian, this symposium was a great way to challenge my assumptions about what an archive is, how an archive is used, and the roles and relationships of its stakeholders of an archive.

For my talk on the dissipating distinction between private collections and public archives, I was teamed up with two terrific co-presenters. Amelia Abreu of University of Washington presented “Tag games, tweets, and recipes: collections in networked public,” exploring the relationship between sharing and saving in social networks. Beth Capper of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago presented her impressive efforts to preserve the documents of filmmaker Shirley Clarke’s Tee Pee Video Space Troupe workshops.

I was inspired by Rick Prelinger’s keynote address “We Are the New Archivists: Artisans, Activites, Cinephiles, Citizens.” My other favorites were Megan Winget on video game preservation; Ricardo Punzalan on the virtual reunification of colonial archives; and Portland’s own Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback on their project The Portland that Was.

With so many film scholars, artists, and independent archivists in attendance, this was an incredibly diverse mix of attendees, making for a refreshing change from the usual professional conference. Bravo to the organizers for getting all of us together for a few days!

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