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Nate Dinwiddie - The Venus Project Archives - JF's Centennial Event

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Nate Dinwiddie graduated from University of Kansas where he studied filmmaking and philosophy. As a student he gained experience in archiving while working at the Dole Institute of Politics

and Archiving and Museum. Since 2011, he has been helping TVP with the main focus of archiving its materials. What's up. That's alright- the first slide. A few preliminary remarks before I get into what's up there. I found from the beginning that when I first arrived, a lot of the materials were sort of disorganized because Jacque and Roxanne had been busy all their lives working on everything that generates that collection, so it was a bit disordered, and I immediately saw the need to organize that all into a comprehensive archive and that to me appeared to be the most crucial task that I could contribute to. So yeah... for obvious reasons, if we agree that the work of Jacque Fresco is important and valuable to humanity, then it should seem obvious that archiving it would be the... most fulfilling thing to do. It's also the-... I grant that [I'm] the lucky one to get to do it. Just as a note on archiving itself, one... sort of a general description of it is you might say that it's a-... it's an attempt to resist entropy in the most general form. Everything in the universe is subject to deterioration and breaking down and getting lost and being dispersed. So archiving is precisely that: trying to resist the entropy that afflicts everything. So it's creating order where there is none. Now one way of doing that is mainly through... a database. It's all done through the computer and all you do is, you assign identification numbers to all items in the archive and try to correlate them and make them as immediately and thoroughly accessible to the user. So obviously, why archive? Well, it's a treasure trove of information and as we continue and begin new projects it can be used as a source of information, but more importantly, especially as Jacque grows older, as a reference to the man who brought all this information together, it acts as a precise reference for- or as a guidance. Plus Jacque and Roxanne, they worked together for 30 or 40 years now, and Jacque long before that. So it always seemed clear to me: why let all this creative work go to waste? and to try and make all of it as accessible as possible, because so much work has already been done. A lot of new projects are started up and a lot of new work is created but as long as that stuff remains neglected, we'll be at a loss. It's also a way for me to develop my own understanding and to come more in contact with the detail of the project. I'm also kind of interested in the history of The Venus Project and the biography of Jacque Fresco so it's interesting to see the evolution of the ideas over time. So, as far as the actual archive, I've attempted to conform to the DAX standard of archiving, which is just about the complete standard for archiving, at least in America as far as I know. Of course as resources have been limited my conformity to that standard has been also limited, so I've done the best I could with the resources I've had. And that standard is derived from a book 'Describing Archives: A Content Standard' which is a publication of the Society of American Archivists. OK so, the content of the archive mostly ranges from the 1970s to the present. Much of the work Jacque had done prior to the '70s has been lost so that includes sketches and technical work and maybe illustrations and even paintings. And of course, a lot of the lectures of that time was more difficult to record, but, those would be lost too. So, here we are with the first slide. The main asset of the archive would be the audio and video material. From that we get Jacque in all his glory from back in the day. These are the numbers here, and just briefly run through them. There are 705 recordings in audio and that spans across 611 tapes. You can see in the picture here that's just about all of the audio-visual content that exists currently in the archive, and that totals to 740 hours and there's also everything that was produced digitally, outside of this physical set you see here, which amounts to 345 hours. And then the video content: 1810 tapes, and that's 1500 total hours. Some of that is, just stock footage, some of it's footage that Jacque had recorded of his models, and then much of it is also lectures. And then there's the digital content of that, of video which is as you see there: 2,700. But as far as lecture content, which would be the most informative, you can see down at the bottom below the photo, that's 4,000 hours. That's about 166 days of constant nonstop streaming, 24 hours. So the uses of this material would mainly be for further productions. As you can see in 'The Choice Is Ours' a lot of the interview footage that was used for that, that is of Jacque, was taken from 2007, so those were tapes from the archive. And... those and even earlier lectures from the '70s or any illustrations and sketches that Jacque has done will serve as well in producing further audio-visual media to disseminate. And also a long-term goal of the website is to make available a lot of this content, especially the audio and video, through some kind of web streaming or maybe a subscription service, and that's one way to help support The Venus Project. And then, I'm interested in arranging a timeline of all this material, see how it spans across time. And secondary... would be the design work that Jacque has done, which so far as I've counted - the numbers aren't exact, it's estimated - of 5800 items, specific unique items that Jacque has created visually through sketching or technical illustrations or paintings or even concept art. And if any of you have been to The Venus Project or you've probably seen much of the video online, there's hundreds of models that Jacque... he's created over the years that really is a strenuous process and takes a long time, so accumulating 400 is quite a task. And then there's a lot of photographic items which are not yet processed but it's estimated about 5,000 of those which-... a lot of it is of the models and of the construction process of The Venus Project as they were doing it. And then... less important would be a lot of the documents that they have there, a lot of unprocessed paperwork, sort of like manuscripts and publicity files and Jacque kind of has his own little library too which I worked on archiving. Now an important thing - the most important thing of archiving - is preservation, and as you can see here this is an illustration Jacque had done a long time ago, probably in the '70s; it's not dated. As you can see, he encased it at the time in a plastic enclosing and... time has gotten to it. So, this entropy at work. This has entered a stage of what they call vinegar syndrome, which is just the chemical breakdown of the plastic, and as far as I can see here the illustration underneath is still-... the ink hasn't smeared, it's all still intact. So, perhaps a long-term goal would be to get funding to restore an illustration. This isn't the only one, there's a few more. And that's a painstaking task to restore something like this. You'd have to hire a conservator, who's probably an expert in chemistry, and they have to soak this in several chemical solutions to dissolve the plastic on the outside and moisten the paper to... bring it back to shape. So the method of preservation temporarily is online storage and there's estimated 60 terabytes of data that has to be backed up and I'm in the process of backing all that up now. But the more long-term solution, not just for us but for archivists everywhere, is something called the M-Disc, which is sort of a- a novel invention as far as recordable discs go. There's a layer on the disk that is made of sort of a metallic substance and it requires a stronger laser to burn the- to encode the data onto the disk, and, the estimated life of a disc like this is 10,000 years, so they claim. So that would be the long-term solution, however, again the problem is resources and funding. So, to buy the discs required to store 60 terabytes of data is in excess of $10,000, so perhaps someday we'll seek funding for the archiving materials. OK so this is related to archiving: we have a transcript project for the audio and video materials, and this is so that we can gather all the texts - everything that Jacque has ever said, that's ever been recorded saying - and we can process that through a database, and that gives us a sort of map of... his brain you might say, and that will allow us- that'll serve as a guide for any future projects. And there's a treasure trove of information in especially these older lectures where he goes into more detail because his audience is familiar with his ideas already so... That is a project that I'm trying to get going. Hasn't gone far, but so far there's 38 transcripts of the classic lectures from the '70s, and I can thank Filip Ivanov of the Bulgaria team who [has] transcribed about half of those, and then a guy named Pejman Parchami from Sweden, who has transcribed the other half. And then there's about 58 transcripts for video tapes. Ideally, we'll get... all of these video tapes and audiotapes transcribed. [It will] probably take several years but, I invite anyone to participate in that way. It doesn't require much background, just proficiency in English and ability to endure a tedious task of typing. So if anyone wants to contribute to that they can email at [email protected] and I can get you started on that. So the uses of this transcript information like I said is to process it through a database, so that we have a big picture of Jacque's ideas and then also, for activist reasons, perhaps to develop a study guide for activists in their own learning, and then any future publications that they may want to put out. Last thing is, I'm interested in collecting anything and everything I can pertaining to Jacque and the Venus Project, so if any of you here or out there online or anywhere has any material related to any events that they have held such as the World Tour, or events like this, or if any of you have been to the tours in Venus on Saturdays, then I'd be glad to collect anything that you can contribute, so- Or, also any essays or articles or if you're academic any theses or dissertations or any journals you may have seen any articles in, and any magazines or newspapers that you think we may not have seen, which would be mainly anything outside of the United States, so you can send that to the [email protected] That's all I got for you. [Applause]

Video Details

Duration: 12 minutes and 42 seconds
Year: 2016
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: The Venus Project
Director: The Venus Project
Views: 84
Posted by: ltiofficial on May 18, 2016

Nate talks about the archiving of The Venus Project materials at the Jacque Fresco Centennial Event - March 12, 2016.

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