Re: Maya's Haiti footage (was: Frameworker in the news)

From: David Baker (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Feb 24 2010 - 12:13:18 PST


Your response is not unanticipated.
I hold no doubt that every individual in the Frameworks community
has contributed according to their very maximum capacity to give to
the Haitian relief effort
and will continue to do so. In no way can this or will this mitigate
the horror and tragedy of what has happened.
(Nor will this protect the Haitian people from what is to come,
see:Naomi Klein-The Shock Doctrine).

I can not for an instant separate a people from their cultural legacy.
I would argue there has never been a better time to
bring Deren's Haitian vision to bear on the here and now.
She witnessed with her camera cultural practices that have never
been documented before or since,the Living Gods
and ancestors of Haiti made manifest through her lens .
(Some of us hold no relation whatsoever to the "art world" you speak
I believe Deren's unedited footage to be "special"
in much the same way that Artaud's work is "special".

Make no mistake Deren's unedited footage is one of the most important
cultural documents
by one of the most consequential practitioners in the history of
experimental film,
as gender specific as it is emphatically black in its cultural
The obvious question that must be asked of your tutorial:
given that it has fallen on principally white men to act as stewards
of this
singular material,
would work of this consequence be left so long unpreserved
had it been done by a white male practitioner of the similar caliber?
Or if it was not so emphatically black in the cultural perspective
made manifest therein?
(I ask this question with the highest respect for Jonas Mekas
and the people who work with him at Anthology Film Archives.
They are the indispensable center of my own cultural life in NYC.)
I believe we in the Frameworks community are every bit as
responsible for the unjust neglect this masterpiece has suffered.


On Feb 24, 2010, at 12:11 PM, Chuck Kleinhans wrote:

> It strikes me that given the recent events in Haiti, this is exactly
> the wrong moment to be shouting that restoring a 60 year old set of
> unedited footage should be deserving of special restoration funding.
> Perhaps this can be a "teachable moment" about the realities of the
> economics of film preservation, and not so incidentally, art world
> attitudes to actual human disasters.
> Chuck Kleinhans
> On Feb 24, 2010, at 8:16 AM, David Baker wrote:
>> Mark,
>> Thank you for responding.
>> As you can tell it was not your blog per se that enticed me to ask
>> the question.
>> (I am certainly one of the legion of anonymous audience members who
>> have gotten
>> the utmost pleasure from scrutinizing every inch of your website
>> however.)
>> Your title 'Academy Film Archive Preservationist" is what enticed
>> me to send a query your way.
>> Anthology is definitely the sole steward of the unedited Haitian
>> footage.
>> I have spoken with Andrew Lampert at Anthology. The impression I
>> have is that while this is a project
>> "in development" ,it has been so every year,year after year since
>> it left Maya's hands.
>> How to break the stasis this wildly consequential film has achieved,
>> and get it seen by the public?
>> Do you know of any precedent for restoration of material of this
>> consequence being shared by two archival institutions?
>> (If Maya could pick up and throw a refrigerator from one side of a
>> room to the other,
>> see: Stan Brakhage in Martina Kudlacek's In "The Mirrror Of Maya
>> Deren" then somebody
>> ought to be able make visible the woefully unseen unedited Deren
>> Haitian footage.)
>> Next stop Jonas,
>> David
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.