Today I met with Lincoln Cushing, archivist at Kaiser Permanente (which, by the way has a far more diverse history than health care), and archivist/mastermind of Michael Rossman’s 24,500 political posters going to OMCA’s collection. These posters were acquired after Rossman’s death in 2010, and were brought to the spotlight with the help of a project by The Oakland Standard, Collaborative Cataloguing. Lucky for the collection, the Museum had the funds available to digitally catalogue, as well as preserve it.
Lincoln continues dedicating a half day each week to cataloguing these posters and searching for information about them. He is a firm believer in the work of “amateur” archivists and their roles in preserving culture and creating value. He said the most important thing a professional can do is to preserve the taxonomy of the citizen scholar’s work, as within the taxonomy lies the meaning.
I am hoping to do a taxonomy workshop with Lincoln in the coming months. Yay Lincoln!
This post I wrote for Open Engagement’s 100 Questions, 100 Days blog was published today:
Sean Orlando has led and participated in grandiose sculptural installations around the world since 2006 and has recently completed a year as de Young Artist Fellow. This June, the artist will explore his own artistic inklings and sensibilities as a solo artist for the first time.
What’s in store?
Undoubtedly, it will still contain all of the elements that we’ve come to love – industry, beauty, detail, science, art, ideation, and something unexpected.
Steampunk Tree House (2007-10)
The Lumbering Contraption (2008)
The Raygun Gothic Rocketship (2009-present)
The Nautilus (2011-13)
Steve Dye, old friend and Exhibitions Technical Manager at SFMoMA, suggested a book about how to visualize all of my research. Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information is a real treat.
It turns out Mr. Tufte has a number of books, as well as one-day courses. I am of course curious how to relay all of this research, which is really the juiciest stuff of all, in effective, visually interesting language. Of course some of it will be relayed by discussion, talks, activities… but though the aesthetics of scraps of scribbled notes is cool, it might not be the way to go.
Another interesting thing Steve shared with me is the process and considerations of collecting and caring for media based artworks. He is constantly tested by media, intentions of artists and curators, and limits of formats as they change. SFMoMA is part of a network project Matters in Media Art, that has been developing a ‘best practices’ study for collecting and caring for media. They, too, have made some swell charts.
Some sketches for my own graphic visualization:
Lock up your belongings. You are now entering the Bancroft Library. This wonderful place holds dear to its heart the value of material culture, and protects it lovingly. I visited the Exploratorium’s physical archive here- just 1 oversized lot with a few folders and a tube containing an original XL exhibition poster, a series of posters from a 1989 concert series, and original architectural drawings for exhibitions with sticky notes still attached. If I were patient enough, I could have ordered many more boxes, which needed to be picked up from a warehouse in Richmond and delivered the next day. One can order these items online once registered at the Library, which is across from the Campanile on UC Berkeley’s campus. These documents are invaluable for research about the pre-digital age. If only we could know what will happen to our digital files… .
Their website hosts a slew of information as well, with very detailed finding aids. For instance, here’s a handy PDF of everything inside the Exploratorium archive. If this doesn’t inspire you to get organized, I don’t know what will. http://pdf.oac.cdlib.org/pdf/berkeley/bancroft/m87_148_cubanc.pdf.
If you go in person, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time, as you have to got through a few hoops to see anything. The librarian/archivists are very helpful and personally assist you so you can enjoy your findings. Be prepared before visiting>>> http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
Here’s a link to their entire collection, thanks to the Online Archive of California: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/institutions/UC+Berkeley::Bancroft+Library