[-empyre-] Video Behind: On the history

ETC etc at experimentaltvcenter.org
Mon Sep 14 11:23:50 AEST 2015

Thank you Carolyn for pointing to the importance of the context of a work.

I agree that without that, a scholar or researcher has a much smaller
universe to work with. Your example is interesting also because it
points to the bearing that happenstance has on all of this archiving.

Sometimes it's just what you put in the box, or let the machine
record, that turns out to be the most informative. I know that that
seems to be the case with ETC materials. What we put in the box has
survived. It's not a comprehensive understanding. Merely a sample. But
maybe that's what history is...

Thank you also for pointing to the assumption often made that all
things visual is on YouTube and all information is on Google.

Maybe that is a goal. But maybe not.

On Sat, Sep 12, 2015 at 12:43 PM, Carolyn Tennant
<carolyn.tennant at gmail.com> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> “The longevity has been a surprise.”
> Thank goodness for the Beer Cooler, Sherry, and for the (relatively) stable environmental conditions you’ve provided for those tapes. Tim mentions that the ETC tapes “all still run on standard tape players.” While the ½” open-reel and UMatic tapes are more hardy than later formats (Ugh, 8mm? digi-8? Run!!), I’m sure you’d agree the playback success you’ve had has much to do with their previous steward. This surprise is a gift to both the current archivists and future audiences. A few years ago I worked with an intern, a High Roads Fellow from Cornell actually, and we were discussing the issues around video preservation.  She mentioned to me something really revealing: “I thought I could just Google anything and find it on Youtube.” The expectation is there. We don’t necessarily think we need to preserve everything, but then who are we to judge what makes the cut, whether or not it’s our work, or even if it is another’s archive? These are some of the dilemmas that we discussed earlier this summer at the Archiving the Arts symposium—when archiving one’s own work there is drive to edit, as well, thus creating a new work.
> Renate asks “how much do we preserve, how much space do we have, who will record our history if we do not?”  A friend of mine who I was visiting recently jumped on the computer to show me a commercial that featured her grandfather’s Tire shop in Phoenix. Curious who had posted the video, we looked into “DaddySinister “ and discovered that he/she had uploaded a lot of early episodes of Soul Train to Youtube, and in the process, had taken the effort to post-- as separate files-- local commercials, station tags, etc. DaddySinister reminded me how important the “Palimpsest,” as Sherry calls it, is to the archive. Do we stop the migration process at the end of the work we’re digitizing, or let the rest of the tape run? Of course Renate’s question of space is a serious one and not lost on me, as we attempt to negotiate the long-term management of digital assets within a University Library system. These newly migrated, massive files quickly eat up space even though, in comparison to the storage needs of other Schools within the University, it’s quite small.
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Sherry Hocking
Assistant Director
Experimental Television Center Ltd.
109 Lower Fairfield Rd.
Newark Valley NY 13811

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