Sunday, August 10, 2014

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] re-collection: Vasulka Archives

Thanks everyone for this very informative and important discussion. It resonates with very real current involvements of mine, which I'll describe below.

By way of personal introduction: I've been on a creative path since the mid-sixties, variously exploring our emergent 'information society', along the way having been a student helper at Nine Evenings, being one of the Kitchen's founding team in '71, initiating numerous arts-sciences collaborations, deploying early analog, digital and photonic media and tools, setting examples for open telecom. infrastructure and services at community, state and national scales, all within an integrated ecological context.

I have recently stepped into helping facilitate and realize the Vasulka (Steina and Woody) Archives. Jon will recall a past effort to use MARCEL for Vasulka archiving. Their work was also 'archived' by the Daniel Langois Foundation in an earlier iteration.

There are a number of elements now converging to make the Vasulka Archives and some major upcoming London/Paris shows, a publication series and more, likely realities (and much work).

The Brakhage Center at UC Boulder, by agreement, will now be the primary Vasulka Archive location and online node in the US. The National Gallery of Art, (building the new Vasulka Chamber, to open in Oct.) in Reykjavik, Iceland, will also create a Vasulka Archive, along with nodes in Brno, CZ and Santa Fe, NM (home to the Vasulkas since 1980). Much has already been done. What seems most interesting to me (having known Woody and Steina since 1969), is the larger 'electronic media arts ecoystem' represented in their life's work and creative associations, from the '60s to the present. Representing, linking to and providing long-term access to this dynamic 'electronic media arts ecosystem' is intended be a major aspect of the Vasulka archiving effort.

In terms of the means of preservation and archiving, Woody's work especially, requires understandings not just of various video tape formats, photographs, and documents, but of 'old code' and one-of-a-kind machines, which want to live on. My sense is that the Vasulka Archives could and should serve as a testbed for 'best practices' in preservation, archiving, searchability, open public access, learning, international cultural support and exchange.

One other note: I am Board President of the annual CURRENTS: Santa Fe International New Media Festival.
I am now considering the likelihood and worth of working to arrange/host an "Old & New Media Preservation" working meeting and public forum, to be held as part of CURRENTS, June 2015. If the idea, place and time seem right, I'd greatly appreciate, ideas, involvements and recommendations, so as to use this opportunity to move the field, current efforts and required funding forward.

Much more to discuss about the devil in the details, if folks are interested, on or off this list.
All creative best,

Richard Lowenberg, Executive Director
1st-Mile Institute
P. O. Box 8001, Santa Fe, NM 87504

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