How We Help
Our Fragile Formats program focuses on stabilizing one of a kind recordings and ephemera through low- to no-cost museum-quality digitization and archival preservation.
GenX is the last American generation to come of age without ubiquitous Digital technology. In 1981, our music was recorded on tape; our pictures shot on film, from 110 to 35mm and beyond. We used 8mm movie cameras (and when we could, video formats, like U-matic and Beta) to make movies and capture performances. DIY stencils, record cover bluelines, collages held together with rubber cement - the stuff that made it from 1981 turns 40 in 2021.
This program helps preserve and convert original analogue tape and film to high resolution files; we also selectively accept original and production graphics, fashion and 2- and 3D art. Depending on the project, you can choose to donate the original media and get only digital files back, or choose to just loan your source materials for copying. (We also should talk about the film projects we are working on!)
Fragile Formats: Recordings
Our priority is getting analogue and early digital audio and visual recordings and photographs converted to lossless, archival quality files.
We know many people have digitized recordings over the past 15 years - but given how technology has changed during that time, even files made a just few years ago are in older formats, and often have been compressed to get smaller file sized or processed in variety of ways. We recommend redigitizing from the original analogue source using current professional standards for archival processing and open formats to get a new "archival master."
Fragile Formats: Original Art and Fashion
Punk's ads, flyers and other printed "stuff" was made with presstype, glue and stencils; DIY artists worked in whatever material was available, often in experimental techniques and with low-quality mediums and found materials - or on surfaces, like skate decks, public walls, or clothing that make lousy long-term surfaces.
In this program, we're interested in documenting original graphic designs, sketches and artist proofs, layouts and production elements, silk screens and stencils, hand-decorated jackets and altered clothing, and other things related to Punk's visual culture. We use a mix of photographs, movies, 3D digitization and even 3D printing to ensure all sides of an object are captured. Once we complete the initial cataloguing in our database, we work to connect these items to the larger creative process and the web of materials that it is a part of.
how it works
Analogue tape doesn't have much time left. Neither does that jacket that hasn't been washed since 1983 and still smells like cloves and wet bricks.
We have several upcoming grant opportunities that will let us cover the full cost of professional archival digitization. For information on the upcoming opportunity and the formats we are supporting, please grab this PDF.
Even if you don't meet the criteria and you have singular recordings or objects, please get in touch and we will see how we can help.