Call For Participants: Community Video Digitization at MIX 2015
Calling all queer collectors, media makers, artists, and hoarders! It’s time to get your old videotapes out of the closet…and over to MIX 2015 so you can get preservation-quality digital copies made!
Do you have home movies or video art projects trapped on VHS or MiniDV tapes? Maybe you wish you could watch that video you made of that performance your best friend organized in 2000? Or the one you shot at a protest you attended in 1995? Or that experimental video art project you edited in 1987? Sign up to participate in the XFR Collective’s Video Transfer Station at MIX NYC 2015. Or just stop by our exhibit! Watch us work, browse our library, or hang out and chat with us about video preservation.
To sign up for an appointment, fill out this form. We’ll write back to confirm appointment timings. All transfer appointments will take place at MIX 2015 (155 26th Street at 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn) November 10-14, 2015.
The Installation. Too often, works created by and offering documentation of queer communities get trapped on hard-to-play, degrading, magnetic media in basements, under beds, and (yes) inside closets because the cost to store, preserve, and transfer media is too high. It is vital that independent, queer, low-income, experimental, community based artists and artists groups have the tools and knowledge to preserve their own work. If we don’t take care of our own work, no one else will.
XFR Collective, an all-volunteer video archiving and education project, is hosting a Video Transfer Station at MIX 2015. In addition to offering free video digitization services by appointment, the station will also offer a space to discuss strategies for preserving personal and community media. Visitors will be invited to watch videos as we transfer them, to browse our little library, and to ask questions of Collective members. We believe that it is important to include “preservation” as part of the conversation around queer visual history.
Appointments. Video transfer appointments will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis. All appointments are facilitated by trained preservation technicians and will be used both for the process of digital transfer, and as an opportunity to engage in a dialogue about the content of each video and the question of how to care for digital files. Participants are expected to assist technicians and remain present for the duration of the appointment. Other MIX attendees are also welcome to watch and ask questions while we work.
Formats. All media submitted must be original material generated by the participant. All rights and permissions to material must be attended to by the participant. The following media formats can be accommodated:
VHS and MiniDV (NTSC only)
Process. For each appointment, technicians will advise participants on best practices for preservation and transfer. Appointment times include both material analysis and digitization processes. To determine material for moving image transfer, artists are asked to consider a 2:1 ratio of digitization to assessment time. For example, two hours of video transfer necessitates one hour of preparatory time. Since old tapes can be susceptible to deterioration or mold, participants are advised to select the media you would most like preserved, but also to bring back up material in case your first choice of tape requires more in-depth conservation work than we will be equipped to perform at the festival.”
Storage and distribution. All moving image materials that are digitized by XFR Collective will be made publicly available on the Internet Archive, a nonprofit institution whose mission includes offering “free and open access to all the world’s knowledge” and providing permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public to cultural heritage collections. All participants will be able to download preservation-grade digital versions of their materials from the Internet Archive. Selections from the digitized content posted on the Internet Archive may be informally screened at future XFR Collective events.
What is the XFR Collective? XFR Collective is a non-profit organization that partners with artists, activists, individuals, and groups to lower the barriers to preserving at-risk audiovisual media – especially unseen, unheard, or marginalized works – by providing low-cost digitization services and fostering a community of support for archiving and access through education, research, and cultural engagement. At its core, the project is designed to support and include people in the salvage, preservation, and circulation f born-analog media created by marginalized artists and organizations. We believe that archiving, preserving, and making accessible community media outside of the mainstream is essential for the creation of a more inclusive understanding of our past and present.