Adam Piron: Media Curation, Format Fetishes & Indigenous Film Language

I could have talked to Adam for HOURS. This was a great conversation! Chatting about the film experience is always my jam but this particular podcast ROCKED. His work at LACMA is inspiring and wonderful and I strongly look to him as a programmer and film professional who balances indigenous work and activism with a real joy and passion for cinema. And that is 100% my kind of person!!

In this episode, Adam and I explore working in the field of film programming/curation (esp in Los Angeles). We focus on ideas of media archiving/preservation, temporality and examining and applying it to media and preservation in a non-hysterical manner. Public perceptions of media formats and the lack of knowledge/education is also a topic before Adam and I explore ideas in and around indigenous film identity, culture and language. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!! 

All the info on Adam is below the link and trust me- you wanna check it out! He’s cool as hell!!

Adam Piron (Kiowa/Mohawk) is the Assistant Curator for Film at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and a member of the Sundance Film Festival’s Short Film Programming Team. He is also an Associate Film Programmer for short films at AFI Fest. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees and Programming Committee of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, an organization devoted to building community around the moving image and the longest continuously running annual film event in North America devoted to creative non-fiction.

From 2014 to 2017, he served as a Manager for Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program. He has programmed both features and short films for Film Independent’s LA Film Festival. He has also served on competition juries and panels for film festivals such as the Palm Springs International ShortFest, Hot Springs Film Festival, Art House Convergence, imagineNATIVE Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film festival and Maoriland Film Festival. He has served as a mentor for the Whistler Film Festival’s Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship and as a NATIVe Partner Representative at the Berlin International Film Festival. He has also guest programmed Indigenous Cinema showcases at the Borscht Film Festival and the Eastern Oregon Film Festival and has also been a reader for Creative Capital.

Follow him on Twitter:@adam_piron

Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez: the Minority Majority, Community Involvement & Our Plea to Stop Being a Jerk!

I am so glad that I am able to come back to the Podcast-waves with this episode.

Some things are a *little* out of date since we recorded this episode waaaaaaaaay back in April but most everything is still incredibly relevant and very very real.

I am so thrilled to have been able to have Elvia on this show. What she is doing in Irvine is so important and her drive to make sure that the future is a better place is so clear. I am incredibly impressed by this University archive and they are quite lucky to have Elvia. She is an incredible person who respects and values the voices that ask to be heard.

This is the rarest thing. I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed having this conversation. ELVIA IS AWESOME!!!!!

As usual, bio is below the podcast link!

Elvia is the Assistant University Archivist at UC Irvine where she is responsible for providing physical and intellectual access to University Archives and Faculty Papers. She was previously the Processing Archivist for Latin American Collections at Princeton University. She earned her Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) at the University of Pittsburgh, and holds a Bachelor’s of Art in art history from UCLA. 

Michelle Caswell: Creating Archives, Making Space & Activating Records of the Now

I first met Dr. Michelle Caswell when I was at UCLA finishing my degree and I already heard how amazing she was back then.

Years later, I was lucky enough to finally get to meet Jarrett Drake in person because he was here in Los Angeles for a conference that (I think) Michelle was running and we talked a little bit about how Michelle’s perspective and work was to the things that we believed and fought for in the archiving world.

Fast forward to now.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Jarrett, Michelle and I are all still working for the same things just maybe not within the same formats or institutions and (obvs) there are many reasons for that as my podcast has shown.

I feel so grateful to have been able to sit down with Dr. Caswell and talk with her about what she does and has been doing because she is TRULY INCREDIBLE. The work that she does and the thinking that she pursues within the archives and memory field is larger than the archives and library/information world. She’s the best kind of academic: the kind who goes for access and important content over fanciness. It’s not that her work isn’t smart- it’s smart as hell!

But the fact that she produces and discusses topics and material that we can all get together on? That’s my jam!

Anyways, here’s our conversation and the bio and links are below as usual.

PLEASE check out those links!!! They are AMAZING!!

BIO: 

Michelle Caswell, PhD, is Associate Professor of Archival Studies in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where she directs the UCLA Community Archives Lab.
She is the co-founder of the South Asian American Digital Archive, an online repository that documents and provides access to the
stories of South Asian Americans. She is also the author of the book Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory and the Photographic Record in Cambodia (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), as well as more than three dozen peer-reviewed articles on archives, memory, and communities.

Info on the event at UCLA on 2/23 https://www.saada.org/ucla

Film mentioned in the podcast: “Lavaan” by Zain Alam https://www.saada.org/wherewebelong/lavaan 
Archivists Against:
http://www.archivistsagainst.org/
Michelle Caswell:
https://michellecaswell.org/

Archivist’s Alley Goes to AMIA 2018, Pt 3: Bob Curtis-Johnson, Alaska’s Moving Image Treasures and Strong Indigenous Voices

Getting to meet and chat with Bob Curtis-Johnson was super cool. I probably could’ve hung out with him for hours. To be honest, even emailing with Bob is awesome- I get to find out whether he’s spotted polar bears or not and what the temperature and light situation is. Which is like…so different from my life here in LA. Plus? I know from talking and hanging out with him at this past AMIA that he’s handling all that AND contributing in a huge way to the archives and preservation world so…my mind just sorta goes WOAH !!!!!
I don’t know how I never met Bob before this past AMIA. We must’ve been dancing around the same committees and people for the last 8 years and just never connected. I am just so happy that we were able to do that here.

His company, Summit Day Media, is based out of Anchorage and that was so exciting to me (it still is)! I was so thrilled to be able to talk to him about the amazing work that he accomplishes regularly and the insane lengths that he and his colleagues go to really make a difference in people’s lives and to work with communities to help preserve their histories.

I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation as much as I loved having it. Bob and the people he works with are all super rockstars. Huge fan of Alaska, now. Big fan. <3

This time we have some REALLY incredible photos from Bob so as usual, just after the link for the podcast download, don’t forget to check out his bio and these amazing pics & the information. Just great!!!

Bio:

Bob Curtis-Johnson is the owner and principal consultant for SummitDay LLC located in Anchorage Alaska, specializing in audiovisual media preservation for clients that include corporations, museums and archives in eight U.S. states. SummitDay has over a decade of experience in mass digitization project management, digital media management, storage environment assessment, a/v media assessment, and development of preservation and disaster plans. Bob has also produced, directed or edited dozens of documentaries, commercials, and artistic and sponsored films for National Geographic Explorer, Black Entertainment Television, The Discovery Channel, PBS and othersL

Links: 
http://summitdaymedia.com

https://fm.kuac.org/post/drums-winter-interview

 


This is a shot of SummitDay staff Mike R. Martz and Keenan Troll performing quality control verification on preservation files (2018).

Picture of Bob Curtis-Johnson and his friend Anagi (pronounced “ON-a-way”) Whitlam Adams (now deceased), taken in Utqiagvik (known at that time as Barrow), Alaska, at a Nalukataq whaling celebration. Bob notes that, “Anagi was an artist and carver, former whaling captain, and a film donor.”

This is a 2009 photo of staff and family members from the Inupiaq Heritage Center in Utqiagvik, at the summer whaling celebration. Chris Danner (in the sunglasses) was part of the staff and also a member of a successful whaling crew that season. The Inupiaq have lived and whaled in this region for 10,000 years, and hunting is a deeply important part of their culture as well as a crucial component of their food security.

UKSUUM CAUYAI is a film of Yup’ik values and culture and is of a different group than the Inupiaq (people pictured above). This is the film mentioned in the podcast.

Archivist’s Alley Goes to AMIA 2018, Pt 2- KBOO Radio, Radical Audio Culture & the Community Archiving Workshop

Meeting and getting to hang out with Marti and Erin was definitely one of my highlights of AMIA in Portland this year.

While their collection was an audio collection (and this is unusual for AMIA- usually the collection that the Community Archiving Workshop selects each year is a moving image collection) the KBOO archive is incredibly worthy of our preservation and of any kind of assistance that could be given or any volunteer efforts towards their ultimate survival.

One of the things that has remained with me since our conversation is how adamant they were about KBOO as an independent institution and yet how deeply rooted in the community and its history. But not the history that is surface-level. It goes way deeper. KBOO and its activities and participants are tied into what seems to be a kind of underground Portland history.

The world that is reflected by the programming at KBOO is not quite the Hip Voodoo Donuts landscape that Portland has become known for. What I loved about this was that the work that Marti & Erin told me about (and what the Community Archiving Workshop was to be helping them preserve during the conference) was chock full of queer voices, activists, POC and turned-on locals participating in a homegrown organization bent on creating a positive audio hub for family, friends and strangers in this northwest area. I dug it!!!

As usual, the bios for my amazing guests (including some SUPER GREAT LINKS are right under the podcast link.

Erin Yanke is the Program Director at KBOO Community Radio where she is also works on the training program, on podcasting, and with the Youth Collective. She is also a documentarian, working with audio, print, and video. Recent projects include the 300 page art book Dead Moon, First 100 Days event series Educate, Agitate, and OrganizeBright Spark a podcast about harm reduction, and the film Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon.   

Marti Clemmons is the Archivist at KBOO Community Radio.  For six years, she has been a library technician at Portland State University Special Collections and University Archives where she continues to process, digitize and make Portland history accessible to the public.  
She is interested in using archives as a place for Queer activism.

LINKS:

General KBOO https://kboo.fm/

50th anniversary historical interviews https://www.50yearsofkboo.fm/kboo-stories-project

Some favorite programs
From the  Grassroots https://kboo.fm/program/grassroots

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Kush https://kboo.fm/program/kabhi-khushi-kabhie-kush
Rose City Native Radio https://kboo.fm/program/rose-city-native-radio

Threshold Shift https://kboo.fm/program/threshold-shift
The Confessional https://kboo.fm/program/confessional