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New Museum exhibition highlights the need for media migration services to preserve creative production
Consistent with the dictum “distribution is preservation,” the project argues for circulation as a mode of conservation. Photo: Courtesy New Museum, New York.
NEW YORK, NY.- This July, the New Museum dedicates its Fifth Floor gallery space to “XFR STN” (Transfer Station), an open-door artist-centered media archiving project. “XFR STN” initially arose from the need to preserve the Monday/Wednesday/Friday Video Club distribution project. MWF was a co- op “store” of the artists’ group Colab (Collaborative Projects, Inc.), directed by Alan Moore and Michael Carter from 1986–2000, which showed and sold artists’ and independent films and videos on VHS at consumer prices.

The “XFR STN” at the New Museum also addresses the wider need in the community of artists for access to media capture and migration services as a means to preserve creative productions stored in aging and obsolete audiovisual and digital formats. In addition to digitizing a portion of MWF Video Club’s collection (currently housed in a storage unit in Staten Island), the “XFR STN” is being used to preserve various materials from the New Museum’s own rich archive (including formats such as U-matic and VHS tapes). In keeping with the original policies of the MWF Video Club, “XFR STN” is open to any artist-originated moving image or born-digital materials whose formats have become obsolete. The exhibition/lab operates publically, informally exhibiting the material that is transferred, as well as rendering it available online through archive.org, an internet library whose mission includes offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.

Consistent with the dictum “distribution is preservation,” the project argues for circulation as a mode of conservation. “XFR STN” serves as a collection and dissemination point for artist-produced content, as well as a hub for information about these past projects (including production materials and personal recollections). The project is both a pragmatic public service and an activity as metaphor: an opportunity to present aspects of a mediatic production process in continuous dynamic transformation.

“XFR STN” is a project by Alan W. Moore with Taylor Moore, Alexis Bhagat, and the artists of Collaborative Projects, supported by the Solo Foundation. It is organized by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement, with Ben Fino-Radin, Digital Conservator, Rhizome; Tara Hart, Digital Archivist, New Museum; and Jen Song, Associate Director of Education, New Museum.





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July 20, 2013

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