9/28/23: Virtual Talks with Video Activists: The Work of Video Preservation

A chat and demonstration with archivists from Media Burn and Visual Studies Workshop about how to preserve videotapes.

A full replay of the September 28 event.

How do we preserve videotapes and make them accessible for future audiences? What is the process for digitizing these unique documents? In this talk, video archivists Nilson Carroll (Visual Studies Workshop) and Dan Erdman (Media Burn) will demystify the process of videotape preservation, taking us behind the scenes to to explain the work that has to occur in order to make the sounds and images of the last 50 years viewable for the next 50 (and beyond). Carroll and Erdman will screen a series of short videos demonstrating the day-to-day, hands-on work of a/v archiving, followed by a brief discussion of their own histories in the field and a q&a period with the audience.

Dan Erdman is the Senior Archivist at Media Burn in Chicago. Founded in 2003 by Tom Weinberg, Media Burn collects, preserves, and distributes documentary and experimental media produced by artists, activists, and community groups. Dan is responsible for the reformatting of Media Burn’s videotape holdings, encompassing a wide variety of obsolete and at-risk formats. He received his M.A. from NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program. He has been involved with media preservation projects at The American Genre Film Archive, The New Museum, Bijou Video, The Explorers Club, Boo-Hooray, and Mercer Media. He has participated in the Audiovisual Preservation Exchange program, traveling to Colombia and Uruguay to both learn from and advise local media conservationists. His book Let’s Go Stag was published by Bloomsbury.

Nilson Carroll is the Assistant Curator and Preservation Specialist at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York. VSW was founded in 1969 in Rochester, New York by artist and curator Nathan Lyons (1930–2016). Rooted in Lyons’ progressive vision of the “workshop idea,” VSW became one of the earliest independent, not-for-profit, artist-run spaces in the country. Nilson is an archivist, educator, and curator, and as an artist, works at the intersection of queer theory, DIY ethics, and video games. Nilson has screened work, spoken at, and performed across the world, including at the Milan Machinima Festival, EXis Festival, Mono no Aware, and the International Toy Research Association Conference, among others.



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