Oct 19, 2015

Preserving the Videotaped Record of 1970s-era Experimental Theater

LaMaMa Archives

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Among the materials housed in the Archives of La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is a collection of rare video that was shot between 1972 and 1980 on a Portapak camera. These obsolete videos document 170 early Off-Off Broadway productions. Recently, as part of its effort to describe, preserve, and offer expanded access to these materials, La MaMa partnered with New York University’s graduate program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) and The Standby Program to digitally transfer a small subset of these video reels.

Join us on October 19th for a sneak peek at the newly digitized video, and a panel discussion. Panelists will consider a range of questions, including: What specific preservation concerns do videos shot on portapak (that is, 1/2 inch open reel video) present? What challenges and opportunities does this sort of university-archive-vendor collaboration present? What’s the history behind these specific video documents?

Participants will include Peter Oleksik (Assistant Media Conservator at MoMA and professor of MIAP’s Video Preservation II course); Genevieve Havemeyer-King (a MIAP alum who worked on this project as part of her coursework); Rachel Mattson, Suzanne Lipkin, and Ozzie Rodriguez (members of the La MaMa Archives team); and Bill Seery, Director of Preservation Services at The Standby Program.

Part of Archives Week 2015 #ARTNYAW.
Co-sponsored by The Standby Program.

La MaMa Archive


Established in the early 1970’s, La MaMa Archives collects, preserves, and exhibits records of permanent historical value relating to La MaMa and the Off-Off Broadway movement. In doing so, it draws on a deep vein of in-house institutional memory, the passionate community of artists whose work has found a home on La MaMa stages, and a diversity of scholars, educators and international artists with whom we regularly collaborate.

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