The Denver Art Museum (DAM) has an encyclopedic collection of over 70,000 artworks, spanning centuries and the entire globe, over 400 of which fall into the fairly broad category of “electronic media” (video and software-based installations, CD-ROMs, websites, video tapes, and more). Due to the exhibition and acquisition of electronic media art and time-based media art often out pacing the development of best practices for the preservation of such artworks, the Denver Art Museum, like many museums, has developed a “backlog” of untreated and minimally cataloged objects necessary for the realization of the museum's media artwork collection. To combat this backlog, the museum has adopted an iterative, project-based approach to identification and treatment of such objects. I had the pleasure of taking a leading role in the most recent project at the DAM, an IMLS grant-funded initiative aimed at migrating all of the media artwork in the collection to a digital repository, and updating all catalog records for each object, either physical or digital, associated with those works.
I recently completed my residency at Louisiana Public Broadcasting, as part of my role as a National Digital Stewardship Resident (NDSR) in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) cohort. I'm excited to be moving on to a position in the conservation department at the Denver Art Museum, but I want to pause and indulge in some navel gazing regarding the whirlwind of a year I have had since graduating from NYU's Moving Image Archiving Program last May.
My grandfather, James Colloton, Sr. (1926-2014), or "Papa" to my cousins and me, recorded home movies of my dad and his siblings with his 8mm film camera. Christmas mornings, family vacations, sledding in the front yard, and water skiing every summer, all moments mechanically frozen in time and stowed away in a film canister.
I recently completed my MA degree thesis project on the conceptual artist Buky Schwartz. Schwartz is perhaps best known for the video installations and single-channel video art that he created during the 1970s and 1980s. His estate's collection of photographs, video tapes, and other forms of documentation embody the artist's legacy as well as the key to preserving his artwork.