Ar#sts  and  Archivists:  Preserva#on  and  the  Crea#ve  Process  session   Associa#on  of  Moving  Image  Archivists  Conference

  December  7,  2012  |  SeaAle,  WA,  USA   Kathryn  Gronsbell,  New  York  University  (Moving  Image  Archiving  &  Preserva#on)   (to  download  only  the  presenta0on  slides,  please  visit  h4p://www.scribd.com/doc/ 122971474/Ar0sts-­‐and-­‐Archivists-­‐Preserva0on-­‐and-­‐the-­‐Crea0ve-­‐Process-­‐Archiving-­‐the-­‐Arts-­‐ out-­‐of-­‐the-­‐basement-­‐into-­‐the-­‐studio)  

  The  concepts  and  collabora0ve  spirit  I’m  about  to  discuss  are  not  new  to  AMIA,  and  probably  less  so  to   those  in  this  room  or  already  involved  with  the  independent  media  commi4ee.  I’m  here  to  offer  my   perspec0ve  on  what  I  have  witnessed  in  this  community,  and  what  my  hopes  are  for  future  efforts.  My   inten0on  is  not  to  sit  here  and  preach,  but  rather  to  broadly  address  shiMs  in  the  profession  in  hopes   that  the  conversa0on  will  con0nue  outside  of  this  panel  and  this  conference.         A  recogni0on  of  understanding  the  crea0ve  process  has  been  growing  rapidly  within  the  field,  with   webinars  and  other  ini0a0ves  developing  domes0cally  and  abroad,  in  an  effort  to  share  knowledge  or   confirm  a  collec0ve  ignorance  of  our  producers.  That  is  to  say,  knowing  the  nuts  and  bolts  of  how   media  is  produced  in  a  crea0ve  sePng  including  produc0on  workflows,  crea0ve  tendencies,  and  the   ac0ons  of  individual  content  authors  can  only  serve  to  benefit  the  workflows  we  create  around  them.       As  moving  image  archivists  we  have  a  ton  on  our  plate  already,  we  need  to  be  able  to  explain  what  we   do,  why  we  do  it,  and  why  it’s  important.  We  argue  as  much  for  the  content  we  steward  as  for  our  set   of  ethics.  The  sen0ments  I  propose  here  support  our  commitment  to  respec0ng  the  creator,  his/her   content,  and  our  evolving  role  in  the  rela0onship  between  the  two.  

1  

(Jeff  Mar0n,  IMAP)     Independent  Media  Arts  Preserva0on  was  founded  in  1999  with  a  mandate   to  serve  the  creators  and  caretakers  of  independently  produced   electronic  media.  For  the  past  several  years,  IMAP  has  focused  its   efforts  on  low-­‐cost  workshops  on  media  preserva0on.  Our  audience  for   these  workshops  has  always  taken  in  a  wide  range  of  people—archivists,   librarians,  students,  and,  of  course,  individual  ar0sts.  In  2011,   IMAP  decided  to  expand  its  workshops  to  create  a  more  organized  and   thorough  curriculum.  We  were  fortunate  to  receive  funding  from  the  New   York  State  Council  on  the  Arts  to  carry  out  this  expansion.  In   deba0ng  the  shape  this  expansion  should  take,  IMAP’s  board  realized   that  we  had  yet  to  create  a  workshop  that  was  specifically   ar0st-­‐centric.  It  seemed  like  an  obviously  good  idea,  but  it  was   equally  obvious  that  a  workshop  of  this  kind  would  be  a  challenge  to   create,  and  that  we  would  need  the  input  of  ar0sts  themselves.   Happily,  a  chance  mee0ng  at  the  AMIA  conference  in  Aus0n  in  2011  led   to  the  discovery  that  students  from  MIAP  were  exploring  the  same   idea.  It  seemed  like  an  obvious  partnership.       The  community  showed  incredible  interest  and  enthusiasm  for  the  opportunity  to  sit  together,  listen,   and  discuss  collabora0ons  between  archival  professionals  and  ar0sts.      

2  

  The  structure  for  Archiving  the  Arts  was  three-­‐fold,  and  relied  heavily  on  community  feedback  to  form   the  iden0ty  of  the  event  and  to  inform  what  kind  of  needs  weren’t  being  met  in  both  the  independent   media  art  community  and  the  associated  archiving  and  preserva0on  fields.  
   Image  c/o  Kathryn  Gronsbell,  NYU-­‐MIAP;  Program  by  Kris>n  MacDonough,  NYU-­‐MIAP  

 

3  

 

As  men0oned,  November  2011  served  as  the  official  start  period  for  this  project.       Followed  by  a  one  year  planning  period  that  included  systema0c  re-­‐assessment  of  the  community   expecta0on  of  Archiving  the  Arts  from  feedback  and  proposals.       Very  happy  to  share  that  the  event  brought  in  over  100  a4endees  and  13  presenters,  including   interna0onal  speakers,  cultural  workers,  ar0sts  and  filmmakers,  amateurs  and  everyone  in  between.   We  were  lucky  to  have  a  range  of  ar0sts  and  archivists,  and  individuals  who  iden0fied  as  both  and   could  comment  on  the  struggle  to  create  with  the  responsibility  of  preserva0on  or  archival  knowledge.              
Image  c/o  Kathryn  Gronsbell,  NYU-­‐MIAP;  Program  by  Kris>n  MacDonough,  NYU-­‐MIAP  

 

4  

I’d  like  to  share  a  sampling  of  some  of  the  ques0ons  and  concerns  raised  at  the  event  and  how  they   might  impact  the  development  of  our  profession,  in  addi0on  to  proposing  three  steps  that  could  help   us  be4er  communicate  with  ac0ve  ar0sts.  Inherent  in  all  this  discussion  and  even  in  the  0tle  of  this   session  is  a  sense  of  division.  True,  we  have  our  roles  as  representa0ves  of  the  audiovisual  archiving   community  and  do  take  those  responsibili0es  very  seriously.      

 

    Original  Cap+on:  R.D.W.  Connor  (1st  Archivist  of  the  U.S.)  receiving  film  "Gone  With  The  Wind"  from  Senator  George  of  Georgia   and  Carter  Barron,  Loew's  Eastern  Division  manager,  January  30,  1941.   U.S.  Na+onal  Archives’  Local  Iden+fier:  64-­‐NA-­‐265   Persistent  URL:  arcweb.archives.gov/arc/ac>on/ExternalIdSearch?id=3493235   Repository:  S>ll  Picture  Records  Sec>on,  Special  Media  Archives  Services  Division  (NWCS-­‐S),  Na>onal  Archives  at  College  Park,   8601  Adelphi  Road,  College  Park,  MD,  20740-­‐6001.   For  informa>on  about  ordering  reproduc>ons  of  photographs  held  by  the  S>ll  Picture  Unit,  visit:   www.archives.gov/research/order/s>ll-­‐pictures.html   Reproduc>ons  may  be  ordered  via  an  independent  vendor.  NARA  maintains  a  list  of  vendors  at  www.archives.gov/research/ order/vendors-­‐photos-­‐maps-­‐dc.html   Access  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted   Use  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted  

5  

Similarly,  the  ar0st  and  his/her  crea0ve  process  are  some0mes  pushed  aside  or  oversimplified  as   elements  or  risk  factors  in  the  long  life  of  an  object  before  it  reaches  our  desks.  From  our  collec0ve   point  of  view,  the  crea0ve  process  is  a  fluid  and  una4ainable  sum  of  informa0on  that  further   complicates  the  work  we  need  to  do  when  we  receive  independently  produced  media.  A  tripping  point   for  us  is  the  separa0on  between  what  we  think  ar0sts  do  and  what  they  actually  do,  and  how  that   might  affect  the  manner  and  methodology  we  use  to  process  their  work.       This  division  can  really  be  a  slippery  slope,  so  instead  we  should  use  it  re-­‐contextualize  our  rela0onship   with  media  producers  and  move  towards  mutually  beneficial  ac0on.  
          Flickr  CC   Bain  News  Service,,  publisher.   J.M.  Flagg   1913  April  26  (date  created  or  published  later  by  Bain)   1  nega>ve  :  glass  ;  5  x  7  in.  or  smaller.   Notes:   Title  and  date  from  data  provided  by  the  Bain  News  Service  on  the  nega>ve.   Photo  shows  illustrator  and  ar>st  James  Montgomery  Flagg  (1877-­‐1960).  (Source:  Flickr  Commons  project,  2008)   Forms  part  of:  George  Grantham  Bain  Collec>on  (Library  of  Congress).   Format:  Glass  nega>ves.   Rights  Info:  No  known  restric>ons  on  publica>on.   Repository:  Library  of  Congress,  Prints  and  Photographs  Division,  Washington,  D.C.  20540  USA,  hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print   General  informa>on  about  the  Bain  Collec>on  is  available  at  hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.ggbain   Persistent  URL:  hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.12297   Call  Number:  LC-­‐B2-­‐  2610-­‐1      

6  

Those  working  with  arts  collec0ons  are  not  the  only  ones  who  understand  the  value  of  communica0ng   early  and  oMen  in  the  produc0on  process.       Discussion  surrounding  standardiza0on  of  Producer-­‐Archive  Interface  Specifica0on  in  the  OAIS  model   as  proposed  by  the  Consulta0ve  Commi4ee  for  Space  Data  Systems  has  fed  our  desire  to  influence   crea0on  –  atleast  of  metadata  prior  to  our  previously  defined  place  in  the  model.  PAIS  iden0fies  and   provides  a  structure  for  the  interac0ons  between  an  informa0on  producer  and  a  deposit  archive.  And   simply,  the  more  educated  we  are  about  where  things  come  from  and  how  the  come  to  be,  the  be4er   we  can  be  at  taking  care  of  them.    

 

  Original  Cap+on:  Washington  Na>onal  Records  Center,  stack  area,  with  employee  servicing  records.   U.S.  Na+onal  Archives’  Local  Iden+fier:  64-­‐NA-­‐3502   Subjects:   United  States  Na>onal  Archives  Personnel   Persistent  URL:  arcweb.archives.gov/arc/ac>on/ExternalIdSearch?id=4477179   Repository:  S>ll  Picture  Records  Sec>on,  Special  Media  Archives  Services  Division  (NWCS-­‐S),  Na>onal  Archives  at  College  Park,   8601  Adelphi  Road,  College  Park,  MD,  20740-­‐6001.   For  informa>on  about  ordering  reproduc>ons  of  photographs  held  by  the  S>ll  Picture  Unit,  visit:   www.archives.gov/research/order/s>ll-­‐pictures.html   Reproduc>ons  may  be  ordered  via  an  independent  vendor.  NARA  maintains  a  list  of  vendors  at  www.archives.gov/research/ order/vendors-­‐photos-­‐maps-­‐dc.html   Access  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted   Use  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted  

7  

 

This  issue  has  also  been  addressed  locally  by  ini0a0ves  like  Ac0vists  Archivists,  with  postcards,   community  workshops,  and  on-­‐going  communica0on  with  ac0ve  producers  whose  work  is  at  risk  for   persecu0on.  This  same  effort  can  be  put  forth  on  the  cultural  heritage  front,  and  allow  us  to  be4er   understand  the  content  we  spend  our  lives  caring  for.  From  across  disciplines,  developing  models  are   offering  educa0onal  opportuni0es  for  communi0es  interested  in  making  their  work  available  in  the   long  term  or  construc0ng  standards  to  hold  them  to.      
  Original  Cap+on:  Washington  Na>onal  Records  Center,  stack  area,  with  employee  servicing  records.   U.S.  Na+onal  Archives’  Local  Iden+fier:  64-­‐NA-­‐3502   Subjects:   United  States  Na>onal  Archives  Personnel   Persistent  URL:  arcweb.archives.gov/arc/ac>on/ExternalIdSearch?id=4477179   Repository:  S>ll  Picture  Records  Sec>on,  Special  Media  Archives  Services  Division  (NWCS-­‐S),  Na>onal  Archives  at  College  Park,   8601  Adelphi  Road,  College  Park,  MD,  20740-­‐6001.   For  informa>on  about  ordering  reproduc>ons  of  photographs  held  by  the  S>ll  Picture  Unit,  visit:   www.archives.gov/research/order/s>ll-­‐pictures.html   Reproduc>ons  may  be  ordered  via  an  independent  vendor.  NARA  maintains  a  list  of  vendors  at  www.archives.gov/research/ order/vendors-­‐photos-­‐maps-­‐dc.html   Access  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted   Use  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted  

8  

Whether  draMing  policies  for  your  ins0tu0on  or  ac0ng  as  an  individual,  recognize  that  there  will  be   challenges,  inevitable  loss,  and  complicated  rela0onships  that  result  from  poking  our  collec0ve  head   into  an  ar0st’s  studio.  Unless  you  iden0fy  as  an  ar0st  and  can  speak  from  experience,  you  going  into   their  workspaces  or  communi0es  is  the  equivalent  of  someone  from  a  Tupperware  conven0on  coming   in  to  this  panel  and  telling  us  to  preserve  to  SVHS.         Read  the  specs  for  the  machines  ar0sts  use,  inves0gate  and  learn  abbrevia0ons  and  annota0on  styles   for  different  parts  of  the  crea0ve  process,  realize  that  not  all  developments  are  linear  in  crea0vity  and   that  diversity  in  that  sense  should  be  embraced  and  recorded,  instead  of  being  seen  as  a  hindrance  to   the  preserva0on  of  an  object.  

   

    Bain  News  Service,,  publisher.   Auto  polo   [between  ca.  1910  and  ca.  1915]   1  nega>ve  :  glass  ;  5  x  7  in.  or  smaller.   Notes:   Title  from  unverified  data  provided  by  the  Bain  News  Service  on  the  nega>ves  or  cap>on  cards.   Forms  part  of:  George  Grantham  Bain  Collec>on  (Library  of  Congress).   Format:  Glass  nega>ves.   Rights  Info:  No  known  restric>ons  on  publica>on.   Repository:  Library  of  Congress,  Prints  and  Photographs  Division,  Washington,  D.C.  20540  USA,  hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print   General  informa>on  about  the  Bain  Collec>on  is  available  at  hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.ggbain   Persistent  URL:  hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.11114   Call  Number:  LC-­‐B2-­‐  2473-­‐10  

9  

The  misunderstanding  or  plain  ignorance  of  the  crea0ve  process  I  men0oned  earlier  should  not  be   seen  as  a  pijall,  but  an  opportunity  for  true  inter-­‐community  rela0onship  building.    We  can  make  our   field’s  resources  available  to  ar0sts  and  vice  versa.       Efforts  to  nurture  an  exchange  of  informa0on  will  compound  and  form  0es  to  the  creators  and  their   inten0ons.  It  would  be  irresponsible  for  this  field  to  evolve  further  without  efforts  to  understand   where  and  how  our  media  comes  into  existence.         A  huge  part  of  this  ini0a0ve  is  to  offer  preserva0on  and  conserva0on  training  early  in  the  crea0ve   process  so  if  the  ar0st  chooses  to  make  responsible  choices  for  their  work,  they  have  the  proper   resources  and  training  to  do  so.  Preven0ve  preserva0on  is  not  a  radical  idea  –  taking  small  but   consistent  steps  in  stabilizing  media  during  produc0on  will  only  result  in  a  healthier  life  for  that  object.   You  can  think  of  this  as  scalable  disaster  planning,  as  something  will  happen  to  this  object  and  we  will   do  everything  in  our  power  to  prepare  as  best  we  can.    

     

    ID  Number:  013225     Maker:  John  Earl  (Earl)  McNeil   An  American  soldier  at  an  advanced  allied  base,  with  his  pet  kangaroo   Rights  Info:  No  known  copyright  restric>ons.   This  photograph  is  from  the  Australian  War  Memorial's  collec>on  www.awm.gov.au   Persistent  URL:hhp://cas.awm.gov.au/item/013225  

10  

Crea0on  is  an  incredibly  vola0le  experience  and  should  be  handled  delicately,  especially  early  on  in   our  rela0onship-­‐building  efforts  with  ar0sts.   We  must  also  recognize  that  some  individuals  don’t  want  to  have  anything  to  do  with  us,  and  the  best   we  can  do  is  have  the  resources  and  training  opportuni0es  available  for  them  should  they  change  their   mind.         In  the  event  that  independent  media  ar0sts  do  wish  to  communicate  with  us,  we  need  to  be  prepared   as  a  profession  to  field  their  ques0ons.  When  we  suggest  crea0ng  certain  types  of  masters  or   documen0ng  their  process,  we  must  offer  ways  that  are  either  already  in  their  field  of  vision  or  can  be   easily  integrated  with  their  consent.  One  of  the  demands  of  creators  at  Archiving  the  Arts  was  that  we   not  create  any  more  unique  tools  for  ar0sts  to  document  themselves,  that  they  already  choose  what   they  like  and  a  more  effec0ve  approach  would  be  to  use  exis0ng  models  to  gather  informa0on  we   need  for  downstream  use.        

 

  William  Reed  filming  "The  Romance  of  Runnibede",  Sydney,  1927  /  Sam  Hood   Format:  Nega>ve   From  the  collec>ons  of  the  Mitchell  Library,  State  Library  of  New  South  Wales  www.sl.nsw.gov.au   Informa>on  about  photographic  collec>ons  of  the  State  Library  of  New  South  Wales:   acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/search/SimpleSearch.aspx   Persistent  url:  acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=10609  

11  

Here  we  get  into  a  li4le  bit  of  an  internal  ba4le,  which  I’m  hoping  to  move  beyond  with  more   dialogue.       Professionally,  we  are  content-­‐neutral.  For  many  of  us,  this  aligns  with  our  personal  beliefs  and  allows   us  to  argue  for  the  value  of  marginalized  material  within  our  ins0tu0ons  and  speak  on  its  behalf  in   other  communi0es.  A  huge  point  of  conten0on  about  reaching  out  directly  to  creators  is  that  we  are   stepping  on  the  toes  of  curators  and  pushing  against  ethical  boundaries.  By  selec0ng  which  groups  to   educate  about  our  goals  and  hopes  for  preserva0on  of  their  work,  we  are  hedging  the  bets  that  most   of  that  stuff  might  make  it  past  its  own  inevitable  disaster.  Yes,  factually  that  is  correct.  My  response  is   simply  this:  we  don’t  want  to  pick  &  choose,  because  it’s  not  in  our  nature  to  selec0vely  inform.  The   goal  here  is  equal  and  diverse  knowledge  dissemina0on.  It  may  not  be  easy  or  quick,  but  it  will  define   how  this  profession  evolves  in  the  coming  years.  
      Flickr  CC:   Format:  Glass  plate  nega>ve.   Rights  Info:  No  known  restric>ons  on  publica>on.   Repository:  Phillips  Glass  Plate  Nega>ve  Collec>on,  Powerhouse  Museum   www.powerhousemuseum.com/collec>on/database/collec>on=Phillips_Glass  _Plate_Nega>ve   Part  Of:  Powerhouse  Museum  Collec>on   General  informa>on  about  the  Powerhouse  Museum  Collec>on  is  available  at   www.powerhousemuseum.com/collec>on/database   Persistent  URL:  hhp://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collec>on/database/?irn=386444   Acquisi+on  credit  line:  Gik  of  the  Estate  of  Raymond  W  Phillips,  2008  

12  

  Our  plan  is  to  u0lize  the  findings  of  the  two  events  in  Buffalo,  the   NYU  symposium,  the  discussion  today,  as  well  as  consulta0on  with   IMAP’s  advisory  board,  to  shape  a  full-­‐day  workshop  aimed  at  ar0sts   who  want  to  care  for  their  own  collec0ons.  IMAP  plans  to  offer  the   workshop  for  the  first  0me  in  the  second  quarter  of  2013.    

   

    Original  Cap+on:  "The  Tetons  -­‐  Snake  River,"  Grand  Teton  Na>onal  Park,  Wyoming.   U.S.  Na+onal  Archives’  Local  Iden+fier:  79-­‐AAG-­‐1   From:  Series:  Ansel  Adams  Photographs  of  Na>onal  Parks  and  Monuments,  compiled  1941  -­‐  1942,  documen>ng  the  period  ca.   1933  –  1942   Created  By:  Department  of  the  Interior.  Na>onal  Park  Service.  Branch  of  S>ll  and  Mo>on  Pictures.   Photographer:  Adams,  Ansel,  1902-­‐1984   Coverage  Dates:  1933-­‐1942   Subjects:  Parks,  Monuments   Persistent  URL:  arcweb.archives.gov/arc/ac>on/ExternalIdSearch?id=519904   Repository:  S>ll  Picture  Records  Sec>on,  Special  Media  Archives  Services  Division  (NWCS-­‐S),  Na>onal  Archives  at  College  Park,   8601  Adelphi  Road,  College  Park,  MD,  20740-­‐6001.   For  informa>on  about  ordering  reproduc>ons  of  photographs  held  by  the  S>ll  Picture  Unit,  visit:   www.archives.gov/research/order/s>ll-­‐pictures.html   Access  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted   Use  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted  

13  

   

Original  Cap+on:  "The  Tetons  -­‐  Snake  River,"  Grand  Teton  Na>onal  Park,  Wyoming.   U.S.  Na+onal  Archives’  Local  Iden+fier:  79-­‐AAG-­‐1   From:  Series:  Ansel  Adams  Photographs  of  Na>onal  Parks  and  Monuments,  compiled  1941  -­‐  1942,  documen>ng  the  period  ca.   1933  –  1942   Created  By:  Department  of  the  Interior.  Na>onal  Park  Service.  Branch  of  S>ll  and  Mo>on  Pictures.   Photographer:  Adams,  Ansel,  1902-­‐1984   Coverage  Dates:  1933-­‐1942   Subjects:  Parks,  Monuments   Persistent  URL:  arcweb.archives.gov/arc/ac>on/ExternalIdSearch?id=519904   Repository:  S>ll  Picture  Records  Sec>on,  Special  Media  Archives  Services  Division  (NWCS-­‐S),  Na>onal  Archives  at  College  Park,   8601  Adelphi  Road,  College  Park,  MD,  20740-­‐6001.   For  informa>on  about  ordering  reproduc>ons  of  photographs  held  by  the  S>ll  Picture  Unit,  visit:   www.archives.gov/research/order/s>ll-­‐pictures.html   Access  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted   Use  Restric>ons:  Unrestricted  

14