It’s 2019! Will You Support the Work of XFR Collective?

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Somehow, it’s 2019!

With 2018 drawn to a close, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate what was an exciting year for the XFR Collective — full of growth, new partnerships, and yes, a moldy tape or two (or ten).

It’s hard to remember that we ended 2017 on hiatus! With a great deal of necessary internal work wrapped up, we launched into 2018 ready for new opportunities and new faces. We’re happy and proud to report that over the last year, our all-volunteer collective has brought on more members than ever, with 12 new members joining the collective, and two former members returning to the fold, bringing the group to nearly 20!

With our increased capacity, we looked for ways to expand and deepen our mission: to lower the barriers to preserving at-risk audiovisual media — with a particular focus on unseen, unheard, or marginalized works. We’ve entered exciting new partnerships with groups such as:

“an independent, member-supported, non-commercial, volunteer-powered community radio station” based in Portland, OR. This was our first national Transfer partnership! XFR Members digitized six ¼” open reel audio tapes ranging in date from 1970-1983 on topics of race, Vietnam, the Native American experience, and underground comix. Listen now on the Internet Archive.

“a non-profit dedicated to preserving the legacy of Japanese experimental moving image produced from the 1950s through 1980s”. This is our first international Education/Outreach partnership! XFR and CCJ hope that this will be the beginning of a collaboration to not only bring marginalized Japanese artists into the spotlight, but to further enrich the artistic historical record.

an all-volunteer arts group with a mission to “explore the relationship between cultural production and social movements” through “an open stacks archival collection, publications, a study center, and public programs including exhibitions, workshops, talks, and screenings…”. XFR has partnered with Interference to set up an in-house digitization rack that will be used by Interference Archive volunteers and the public.

M/W/F was a co-op store of the artists’ group Colab (Collaborative Projects, Inc.), directed by Alan Moore and Michael Carter from 1986–2002, which distributed and sold artists’ and independent videos at affordable prices. We have embarked upon our first prolonged Transfer partnership, to sort, inventory, and digitize the M/W/F Video Club tapes. In 2006, artists and Colab members Andrea Callard (also a founding XFR Collective member) and Coleen Fitzgibbon digitized about 28 tapes from this collection – focusing on productions by Colab TV. Subsequently, Alan Moore proposed the XFR STN exhibition to the New Museum. During this 2013 exhibition, more tapes from the M/W/F collection were transferred. This exhibition eventually lead to the formation of the XFR Collective in 2014. You might say that this collection is the bedrock of XFR, and we are excited to continue the work of bringing this content to the public at large. XFR has distributed boxes of tapes to each of our three developing digitizing stations in members’ homes in Tribeca, Prospect Heights, and Jackson Heights, and at our partner METRO’s Hell’s Kitchen homebase. Over the next year or so, we will continue to inventory, and will digitize prioritized content from this collection of over 600 tapes. Papers of the M/W/F Video Club project have been accepted by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Our collective members have also shared our work across the five boroughs and beyond — from a presentation on preserving obsolete analog media at Barnard College’s Endangered Data Week, to sharing our video rescues from the Surry Opera Company at the 11th Orphan Film Symposium at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.

We also found new ways to share the work we’ve digitized — and importantly, connect the public with opportunities to preserve their own audiovisual memories. In July, we partnered with Ulterior Gallery in the Lower East Side for LESXFR vol. 2 — a two-day screening of videos from artists who lived, worked, and created in the city from the 1970s-1990s. In September, our members hosted a pop-up transfer station at Bushwick’s Secret Project Robot, where visitors could bring in their own tapes and learn how to digitize them. In October, we held screenings with Brooklyn Public Library and Adelphi University Libraries, with tips on how to preserve your own AV materials. And on October 21 — just in time for Halloween — we collaborated with Straight Through The Wall to screen some of our favorite spooky digitized videos on the streets of Gowanus.

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An on-the-fly AV wiring diagram for our pop-up transfer station at Secret Project Robot. We also screened some of our favorites from our Internet Archive collection, including “Debate of the Dead.” (photo credit: XFR collective member Sarah Gentile)

We’ve done all of this as a volunteer-run collective, with a very small budget. As 2019 begins, we hope that you’ll support our work to continue fostering a community that makes archiving accessible – through hands-on workshops, screenings, and our ever-growing partnerships. Will you support the work of XFR Collective?

We’ve created a new wish-list of equipment we need to upgrade our second rack in Brooklyn, as well as a third digitization rack in Queens, and to build a video digitization travel station for events like the MIX NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival and spaces like Secret Project Robot.

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Pop-up video and audio transfer stations at Secret Project Robot last September. (photo credit: XFR collective member Marie Lascu)

Financial or equipment donations are much appreciated. XFR Collective is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

To make a financial contribution, please visit our Donation page. If you have equipment you wish to donate, please specify this under the “Add special instructions to seller” field in the Paypal form. Please email details about the item and its location to xfrcollective@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

The XFR Collective

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XFR Collective’s 2019 Wishlist:

Quantity                         Item

1-2                                    SVHS video deck

1-2                                    Hi8 video deck/camcorder

1                                       Compact audio cassette deck

1                                       Audio capture card

2                                       Computer (not older than 3 years)

2                                       Analog to Digital video converter

2                                       Audio mixer/Audio monitor

1                                       Laptop (not older than 3 years)

1                                       Time Base Corrector

3-5                                    Professional rack shelves

1                                       Small media cart (for portable rack)

~                                       Cables! (BNC, RCA, XLR, etc!)

As always, even if you have equipment that is not on our current wish list, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re interested in donating. We’re also happy to pass on equipment availability to others!!! Let’s keep building a network!

Thank you for taking the time to read through this post. We understand that for most of us, time and resources are precious. We appreciate any and all support!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!