Last time, I talked about film festivals and a few ways to get involved in local and global-scale festival organizations. There is a unique, irreplaceable, periodically re-iterated atmosphere of every film festival, embedded into the festival program with a deeply intricate subtlety. The social and cultural influence of every festival is peculiar, and every single one fosters a certain narrato-stylistic momentum rooted in the collective projection of moving images.
The projected movement of pictures is powerful, more than ever when substantiated in a collective endeavor. Such movement, instigating an infinite series of social and cultural chain reactions, could diffuse an influence as large or as limited as the great Anthropocene.
Physical, social, intellectual, and cognitive constituents of this audiovisual momentum coordinate an ephemeral collectivism, converging at the flickering projection –a.k.a the movies– and the endeavor crystallizes in the habitual collective action within local and global communities.
In a sense, the festival merely extends the ephemeral flicker, and then it’s all gone in a week or so.
In a sense, it is spoken conversation.
Shifting gears, I would like to talk a bit about conservation and preservation, as opposed to the ephemeral flicker.
There’s a certain, institutional ring to the name, am I right?
The marble arch beautifully holding the weight of material and culture.
There is a certain aspect of preservation, motivating the very existence of a museum in the first place. This is not preserving the past per se, but rather an index of artifacts in an archival state of mind. In fact, this is a vast collection of information. Preservation and archival – this is not a process of production on the surface level; this is an integration of human’s prior experiences into the linear chronology of human perception.
Let’s take a step back here.
There are all sorts of museums –science museum, space museum, dinosaur museum, mummy museum, piano museum, marble sculpture museum, dried flower museum, postage stamp museum; I’ve even seen a certain Museum of Innocence in Istanbul. Whether visual, historical, or numerical, they all deeply embrace the idea of archiving a certain piece of information in an organizational structure.
In a sense, the museum is a database.
A comprehensive archive of information for timeless access.
In a sense, the museum is merely a storage facility open to public.
This is very important: open to public. Museums, in this context, are meta-libraries of individual indexes. In the case of arts, artists archive their experiences in their artwork. The museum, then, is the umbrella that archives a collection of individual artistic indexes for contemporary collective access.
Access to information.
This is where the question of curation comes about. The decision-making process of what to archive, what to disregard, and how to share these archives with a wider public audience - and hey, who exactly is the audience here?
This is inherently subjective, and in a way that is beyond the curator’s personal taste. This is rather concerned with trans-disciplinary definitions and parameters that we designate within our respective fields of study.
Of course a fairly traditional discussion of museums such as this is unfair at times.
It would be more than unfair, almost blasphemous to some, to reduce the elaborately fluent communication between film projection at festivals and museum archives into one giant structural opposition. Trans-disciplinary treatment of human expression incorporates a multi-faceted process of production and exhibition begging for artistic subversion.
On that note, I am sitting across the street from a great art school, just a few blocks from the museum of the Art Institute of Chicago. They have six screens right next to the entrance of the school building, flickering ephemerally with a word on each screen, printed black on a white background, fixing the indexed words on each screen, and then changing every second, showing a different word. This is what it looks like:
oxygen lemongrass spoon
alligator Kentucky radiator
Now, is that a small-scale film festival or a mini-museum I’m looking at right there?
Why not both?
At the end of the day, you're the one to make it.