PLASMA presents Rick Prelinger February 26, 2019

Published February 25, 2019 This content is archived.

PLASMA poster image for Rick Prelinger.

February, 26, 2019, 6:00 PM, Center for the Arts 112, University at Buffalo

The Department of Media Study’s PLASMA Series Presents:



In the last 25 years we have displaced much of our culture, labor and recordkeeping into the digital domain. Whether or not this displacement is a lateral or hierarchical split remains to be seen. But while the digital turn has vastly enriched many lives, it has also amplified divides, accelerated inequalities, elevated the possibility of historical amnesia and brought us new and onerous forms of labor. At the same time, digital emergence is feeding a renaissance of physical media, a revival of the handmade and an analog culture that consciously looks forward rather than to the past. The simplistic opposition of digital progress and analog nostalgia is giving way to a new vision of hybridity. Paraphrasing the artist/writer Jen Bervin, we now realize that analog and digital media each have different jobs to do. How do their actual affordances map onto spectra of quality and value? Centered on the archival record and the production of culture as models for social imagination, this illustrated talk suggests how actionable strategies that look beyond physical/virtual, rich media/poor media and algorithm/assembly can aspire to redistribute power and heal digital wounds.

About Prof. Prelinger:

Rick Prelinger is an archivist, writer, filmmaker and educator. His collection of 60,000 ephemeral films was acquired by Library of Congress in 2002. Beginning in 2000, he partnered with Internet Archive to make a subset of the Prelinger Collection (now 7,000 films) available online for free viewing, downloading and reuse. His archival feature Panorama Ephemera (2004) played in venues around the world, and his feature project No More Road Trips? received a Creative Capital grant in 2012. His 25 Lost Landscapes participatory urban history projects have played to many thousands of viewers in San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland, Los Angeles and elsewhere. He is a board member of Internet Archive and frequently writes and speaks on the future of archives and issues relating to archival access and regeneration. With Megan Shaw Prelinger, he co-founded an experimental research library in San Francisco in 2004, which serves over a thousand artists, researchers and activists each year. He is currently Professor of Film & Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz.