Archives and Archivists
What is lost and gained in the shift from physical to digital archiving? What and how do archives preserve, and how do they curate public access? How do we search for digital material? Which tools are used to modify and limit our search options, and what does this tell us about digital networks and our relationships to them? Who or what is featured and findable in the databases we use today?
This special issue came on the heels of the History, Cinema, Digital Archives conference hosted at ANU and headed by Jill Matthews. After the conference, in 2015, Jill and I decided to edit a Special Issue focusing on digital archiving.
The second half of this issue comprises of my interviews with six leading international archivists, curators, and programmers, who reveal the structures and work processes of curating for film archives and retrospective film festivals. Their selection was based on our recognition that these women-Bryony Dixon (British Film Institute), Giovanna Fossati (EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam), Karola Gramann (Kinothek Asta Nielsen, Frankfurt),Meg Labrum (National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra), Mariann Lewinsky (Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna), and Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi (EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam)-have been innovators in integrating gender into archival outreach and festival access today.
With no fanfare-and certainly with no centralized coordination among themselves-these women quietly ensure that both their own work and that of previous generations of female filmmakers, writers, and performers are no longer hidden-in-plain-view.
In my introduction, I argue that women have a disproportionate impact upon the programming of silent film at festivals. I also suggest that there is a growing public that is attracted to festivals such as Il Cinema Ritrovato precisely because these festivals give us access to a vision of film history and feminism that we cannot find in traditional history books. Finally, I ask how these women work and, specifically, how the change to digital has impacted archival outreach and access today. See: