Saturday, November 13, 2010

AMIA

Whew. This week kicked me in the face. I don't even want to talk about it yet, so let's just get caught up on pictures, shall we?

I spent last week in Philly at the Association of Moving Image Archivists conference. I finally felt like I fit in this year, and quickly realized that is because I am fully embracing what a rare breed of nerd I actually am. I fear I might never be cool again... and maybe I'm okay with that? Either way, Philly was really cool. Tuesday night, before the conference began, we stayed with Sam L's (not roommate Sam) family who live in a beautiful town outside of Philadelphia. We sang show tunes, made a Trader Joes run, her mom fed us until we were all in food comas and then we laid around looking at her old pictures and watching Beauty and the Beast till we fell asleep. Somehow sleepovers are even better when you're a grown up.

Getting into the city on Wednesday was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me because my personal life is stupid, and I now have memories infecting just about every city in the country, but I eventually got over it and it ended up being a pretty incredible experience. Day 1 was spent doing "activist archiving." My class helped Scribe, a non-profit video center, catalog some of their collection for archiving. Our Video Preservation professor, Mona Jimenez, is all about lending our skills to people who need it, which is really cool. It was a long day of looking at spreadsheets (and I am NOT and never plan to be a cataloger - no thank you) but a good experience with good people.
(thanks to Erwin for that picture of me being an activist archivist!)

We went out that night and did karaoke with the first year students. I love that MIAP is such a tight group. There are so few of us and we spend so much time together that it's hard not to be. My class got really lucky that all seven of us have a lot in common and the same general outlook on the program and field. It keeps things in perspective, I think. This is June, our resident Korean film world celebrity, serenading us.

I'll spare you all my preservation-related notes and stories (I'll save those for the AMIA student chapter blog that's launching soon), but I made a point of attending anything related to my thesis, like the meetings and panels on projection and presentation, access to films and fundraising. I also LOVED watching Carson Davidson's incredible short films and hearing him talk about them and the restoration that was done on them. If you're a film loving type, click that link and enjoy some beautiful Oscar nominated shorts from a really interesting dude. Archival screening night is always the best part of AMIA. Representatives from archives all over the world bring their latest discoveries and treasures and get six minutes to screen them (or part of them) tell us about them. We end up seeing 30 or so brilliant, funny, weird, beautiful pieces of film that are often never (or rarely) seen anywhere else. This was one of my favorites from this year:

(read the caption about it, so awesome.)

Other highlights included classmate Erik's poster presentation on the work he's doing for his thesis. It's all about edge codes printed on film and it's brilliant, if you were curious.

Delicious Mexican dinner (oh, the guac bowl!) with my classmates, full of laughter and my ever-intrusive camera. I seriously love these people.
(Those are the roommates, Swinny and Sam, being hilarious.)

I died over the Reading Terminal Market. It's been on my travel list of places to visit for a long time and it definitely lived up to the anticipation. I had a vegetarian cheesesteak and walked around till my senses couldn't handle the excitement anymore.

Closing night of the conference was delightful. We had a mixer on the top floor of the gorgeous Loews Hotel where the conference was held. I sat in the window before everyone else got there and daydreamed, as I sometimes do, that I was Spiderman and could soar through the buildings.

But I eventually had to be a grown up and climb out of the window, listen to toasts and talk to people... network, solidify friendships and express satisfaction with the week.
 

Swinny and I decided to make a night of it at the "unofficial AMIA after party" at the Latvian Society. It was just a bunch of archivists standing around a bar in this weird, awesome house drinking Lativian beer... until the Europeans got there. The adorable Johan and Erwin -- or "Metadata Moguls" (nerdy and hilarious) -- got the dance party started and it didn't stop for hours. 

Kitschy archival films of ladies dancing and 1950s naked dudes were projected on the wall and the room was decorated with strips of film instead of streamers. I danced all night with Swinny, Ben (my internship supervisor and super buddy) and other lovely, fun, crazy archivist-types from all over the world. 

Overall, it was an inspiring and challenging week professionally and a chance to party with people I have a lot in common with. Next year's AMIA will be in Austin, which is already the most exciting news ever, and I have a lot of work to do to get ready for it. 

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