Nov 23, 2012

China Girls: The Unknown Faces of the Silver Screen

The Orphan Film Project and NYU Cinema Studies are cosponsoring this swell event at Anthology Film Archives, programmed by Genevieve Yue.  Join us!

Her notes from the Anthology Film Archives calendar:

The various faces of the “China girl,” sometimes called a “China doll” or “girl head,” have appeared in more films than any actress, though she is almost never seen, save for the fleeting glimpses an audience might catch at the end of a film reel.
These images of a woman, demurely positioned next to color swatches, have appeared on the leader of every commercial manufactured film since the late 1920s and continue in limited use today. The China girl image is instrumental in determining exposure, image density, and color balance, forming a kind of cinematic unconscious. Her essential but often overlooked role in film history has also made her a compelling subject for experimental filmmakers variously examining issues of celluloid materiality, the behind-the-scenes workings of the film industry, and the often marginal role of women. In some cases, the China girl is no less than the enigmatic icon of a vanishing medium.

Two programs highlight nine experimental films using the China girl, as well as a talk by programmer Genevieve Yue, and a projection performance by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder. (May we also say that Sandra Gibson is a 2010 graduate of NYU's M.A. program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation?)

Program 1    Thursday, November 29 at 6:45 pm   (ca. 80 minutes) all in 16mm

Owen Land, INSTITUTIONAL QUALITY (1969, 5 min)


Morgan Fisher, STANDARD GAUGE (1984, 35 min)

Michelle Silva, CHINA GIRLS (2006, 3 min)

Thomas Draschan and Stella Friedrichs, TO THE HAPPY FEW (2003, 5 min)

Brian Frye, NADJA (2000, 3 min)

Timoleon Wilkins, MM (1996, 8 min)

Mark Toscano, RELEASING HUMAN ENERGIES (2012, 5.5 min)

Program 2  Thursday, November 29 at 9:00 pm

“Blink and Burn: China Girls in Experimental Film”
A talk by Genevieve Yue
Projection performance by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder
Gibson & Recoder at Orphans 2008


Illustration at top from "China Girls / Leader Ladies," web page created by Northwest Chicago Film Society

with images from Benjamin Tucker, Becka Hall, and Chicago Film Archives
including a moving image from CFA (16mm WINK)

See also

Julie Buck and Karin Segal's "Girls on Film" exhibition at Harvard

Watch the Buck & Segal movie, GIRLS ON FILM (2005) 

Nov 4, 2012

post-Sandy media restoration at Eyebeam Center (aka go MIAP!)

Here’s a New York update after the destruction wrought by last week’s hurricane (too terrible to be named “Sandy”).

Executive summary? Students and alumni from NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program are doing great things, including volunteering in disaster recovery efforts.

As I type this, some are on the ground at the recently flooded facilities of Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, a New York-based not-for-profit organization.

Here’s a post-Sandy e-mail several of us in MIAP received after the first wave of salvage and rescue operations. It’s author also wrote a MIAP thesis entitled “Disaster Planning And Recovery: Post-Katrina Lessons For Mixed Media Collections” (2006).

Subject: Eyebeam restoration (aka go MIAP!)
On Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 9:12 PM, Kara Van Malssen (kara@avpreserve) wrote:

Dear MIAP folks,

Thanks so much to those of you who have come out to help at Eyebeam the past two days. You've been really incredible. We would never have got so far without your ingenuity, knowledge, skill and dedication. This has been an amazing learning experience for me, so I hope it has been for you as well. Nothing like a disaster to give you a crash course in disaster recovery!

BUT, we are not done, and we could really use your talents again tomorrow [Sunday]! Mornings have been slow, so the more of you who can come in the morning (starting around 10:15), the better.

If someone can forward the info to the 1st years MIAP students, that would be super.

Howard, Mona, Dan, Alicia -- you should be proud of the 2nd years (oh and a few faculty and alumni too, including Josh R[anger], Erik P[iil], Chris L[acinak], Seth A[nderson], Walter F[orsberg].... Hope I haven't forgotten anyone; it's been a real whirlwind could of days). Unfortunately, I don't have a group pic, but I've attached a few shots of people in action. 
Erica Titkemeyer

Dan Erdman

Kristin MacDonough, Shira Peltzman, Walter Forsberg

Erik Piil
Hope everyone who I haven't talked to is doing ok!

Thanks again,



On Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 10:14 PM, Mona Jimenez, MIAP’s Acting Director, replied.

Wow!  Inspiring work, all!!  Forwarded to first years.

Mona’s message was followed by this:

On Sun, Nov 4, 2012 at 1:29 PM, (dan.streible@nyu) wrote:

Hi, Kara, Chris, Mona, Howard and Moving Image Archiving & Preservation heroes.

No reason not to shout this out to everyone.

This is just the most recent of many reasons I am so proud to be affiliated with the program and the individuals in it. Not only is your work inspiring because it is 'impactful' (as Jodie Foster said in Contact) but your works are continuing evidence of how freakin' HARD you work.

For those being introduced to this conversation, for the first time: the Subject line references the ongoing disaster-recovery actions being taken in New York by MIAP ally Chris Lacinak's AudioVisual Preservation Solutions with many MIAP alumni and student volunteers at the not-for-profit Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. For 3 or 4 days running now.

This volunteering of hard (skilled) labor by MIAP peeps is all the more laudable given how much MIAP students achieved the 4 previous weekends.

• Friday, October 5: NYU Cinema Studies Community Weekend – AMIA @ NYU game night; 
• Saturday, October 13: a student-generated Archiving the Arts conference at NYU Tisch; 
• Saturday, October 20: alums and students volunteer at Home Movie Day at the Museum of Modern Art; 
• Saturday, October 27: MIAP student-generated and co-hosted World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2012 as part of the Museum of Modern Art's annual international film preservation festival, To Save and Project.

And of course the conference and the WDAVH event involved months of planning. 
None of this was done as course work per se. These are impactful[!] events conceived and executed by MIAP students and their recruited allies.

No doubt I am omitting other amazing acts of professionalism and generosity these people have achieved in the past month. And of course many of these people were themselves undergoing the hardships of the hurricane aftermath. (You might be aware that one of the current MIAP students lost nearly all of her worldly possessions due to the flooding in New Jersey -- yet she remains part of the volunteer cohort!)

Even as MIAP/Cinema Studies students-staff-faculty-alumni remain international leaders in the field's theoretical and intellectual development, they are obviously kicking ass in practice. Making the world better for the living and their future descendants.

Also: Get some rest, all y'all.

Your admirer,

Dan Streible
NYU | Tisch School of the Arts | Cinema Studies | Moving Image Archive and Preservation Program


Looking back at Facebook postings, it seems to have been MIAP alum Peter Oleksik (now a video conservator at MoMA) who contacted Marko Tandefelt (Eyebeam's Director of Technology and Research) to set the work in motion.

See more photos of Team Eyebeam at work:

# # #