February 2, 2020
Written by Michael J. Masucci
As I have gotten older, and now face the last chapters of this life, I look around and see that my colleagues, like myself, have been busy looking backwards. Almost frantically, numerous archives are being built, from various ephemera, for a purpose yet to be determined. Although this is normal, I wonder what value this may be to anyone out there, who out of any sense of what has come before, will wander through the numerous archives being created, both important, and not.
I do understand, that it is, as the adage goes, it is better to be safe than sorry, and therefore any value may be determined, in an as yet unanticipated way. In such a sense, we should preserve whatever we can, and let others, at some future time, find some value in such preservation. From an anthropological perspective, it is vital to collect the artifacts of our time, as a cultural time capsule, spread across libraries, both physical as well as digital.
Having spent a great deal of time, over the last half-decade, collecting, assessing and quantifying the massive amount of video, photographic, poster and other materials from EZTV’s complex history, I now face the inevitable moment when these multicultural artifacts will be dispensed among several libraries and archive collectors. Their expertise and objectivity will add the necessary level of separation which is demanded of any meaningful comprehension of the work.
Simultaneously with the completion of the EZTV archive project, we have, coincidentally, become involved in a similar project with the archives of the late actor/dancer/producer/multimedia pioneer Zina Bethune. Currently we have brought together UCLA with Bethune’s next of kin, to hopefully preserve her immense contribution to LA’s history, as well.
If such time comes, when EZTV’s, CyberSpace Gallery’s, Zina Bethune’s, LA-SIGGRAPH’s, etc., etc., etc., contributions become clear to strangers, than all this work will have been worthwhile. However, if such recognition never comes to pass, at least we still have put in place the materials needed to make such determination. Either way, it is work well taken, and should be replicated by persons throughout the world, in area of human endeavor, so as to offer our descendants, the opportunity to sample and taste the thoughts, creations and beliefs of those that came before, in as many cultures as can be so preserved.
So, what value archive? Enormous value.