2023 MIAP Thesis Week


Monday March 27th - Friday March 31st

Students in the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) program will present their M.A. thesis projects, covering a wide range of topics.

This event will take place in person in Michelson Theater at 721 Broadway, 6th Floor unless a different room is otherwise noted. Two students will present in Room 674 on Monday.

No live virtual streaming will be availble, but instead students will choose to have their presentations recorded at their discretion. 


Monday 3/27

10-11 am - Tasha Randhawa 

Michelson Theater 

The Wild West of Web3: Emergent Media and the Future of Digital Preservation 

A new born-digital asset class, digital tokens are emerging in the art world, garnering the attention of world-class museums and other arts institutions. These tokens, more specifically non-fungible tokens (also known as NFTs), have begun seizing utility and building community in the motion picture and entertainment industries. Based in blockchain technology, NFTs inspire a new generation of artists and filmmakers to regain creative control, access, and distribution over their own works. As audiovisual archivists, it is our responsibility to keep abreast of these new innovations and technologies to serve and preserve the history of the moving image. This thesis is an in-depth exploration of the relevancy of blockchain and digital tokens to the archival space and seeks to disentangle the knot of complicated questions pertaining to copyright and intellectual property law, provenance and ownership, and financial modeling beyond traditional fiat-based systems.


12:30-1:30 pm -  Amanda McQueen

This presentation will be in Room 674

Archiving the Smashworks Dance Collection: Born-Digital Video Preservation for Independent Artists 

This thesis outlines a preservation strategy for the Smashworks Dance born-digital video collection. It covers assessing the long-term stability of the collection’s file formats; organizing and inventorying the collection; evaluating preservation storage options; and developing a workflow to manage the collection going forward. The project also evaluates the degree to which existing best practices for born-digital video preservation are appropriate for small organizations or individuals. 


3-4 pm - Oscar Becher

This presentation will be in Room 674

Repairs, Repeats and Rewritables: Unspoken Issues in Moving Image Archiving and Distribution

As a fairly new field of academic study, film and media archiving has plenty of facets that need further delving into due to the constantly changing best practices and a steady stream of technological advances. As a portfolio project encompassing three separate but not entirely unrelated topics - this project approaches these issues with a focus on historicity and breakdown of possible future preservation issues. Pornographic Loops: Coin-Based Peepshos and the Repeating Problem of Short Form Erotica from an Archival Perspective focuses on films that fall somewhere between the home movie, experimental and exploitation genres.  Pressure Sensitive Splicing Tapes and Archival Procedure delves into the preservation problems surrounding the history and chemistry of film splicing. Is Blu-ray the True Way attempts to deconstruct the newest form of optical media disc as a possible low-budget alternative to digital media that has since become the industry standard for home media distribution.


Tuesday 3/28

10-11 am - Claire Shaffer

Michelson Theater 

The New Nitrate: Scaling the Inequity of Digital Film Preservation

Archival content has become an increasingly crucial asset for major film studios, record labels, and other large-scale entertainment companies, who are willing to pay more and more for both digital and physical preservation of audiovisual properties in the hopes of long-term profit. In contrast, independent filmmakers and content creators almost always lack the funds, resources, or education to properly archive their work. Because of this, despite the unprecedented amount of digital content being produced and distributed today, a large quantity of it is at risk of being lost to future generations. This thesis examines the ongoing challenges of digital preservation for independent filmmakers and outlines comprehensive solutions to this ongoing issue.


Wednesday 3/29

10-11 am -  Brian Dunbar

Michelson Theater 

The Right Stuff: Building a Successful AV Solution for Archives and Museums

"The Right Stuff" centers around audiovisual setups, such as racks and complex artworks, across numerous institutions. This thesis looks into what it takes to build a successful AV setup and why certain standards and recommendations may or may not apply in an archival setting.


3-4 pm - Kirk Mudle 

Michelson Theater 

A Gift to Another Age: Evaluating Virtual Machines for the Preservation of Video Games at MoMA

This preservation project investigates the use of virtual machines for the preservation of video games. From MoMA’s collection, Rand and Robyn Miller’s classic adventure game Myst (1993) is used as a sample record to evaluate the performance of three different virtualization options for the Mac OS 9 operating system—SheepShaver, Qemu, and Yale’s Emulation-as-a-Service-Infrastructure (EaaSI). Serving as the control for the experiment, Myst is first documented running natively on an original iMac at MoMA. The native performance is then compared with each virtualization software. Finally, a fully configured virtual machine is packaged as a single file and tested in different contemporary computing environments. More generally, this thesis clarifies the risks and challenges that arise when using virtual machines for the long-term preservation of computer and software-based art.


4:15-5:15 pm - Ben Rubin

Michelson Theater 

Night of the Living Film: A Conservation History of George A. Romero's The Amusement Park

In 2018, a once-thought-lost film by horror director George A. Romero was rediscovered. That film, The Amusement Park, was screened briefly at a few festivals before seemingly disappearing in the mid 1970's. This thesis will serve as a preservation history of the film, and will discuss how The Amusement Park was preserved and restored, uncover the lost history behind the making of the film, and examine how the film fits within both the general filmography of Romero as well as in the context of other industrial films of the era.


Thursday 3/30

3-4 pm - Katie Zwick

Michelson Theater 

Preserving the Material and Cultural Legacy of the Mixtape

This thesis traces the evolution of the mixtape from cassette to disc to digital, details preservation concerns, and proposes solutions regarding their material and cultural care. Two case studies -- one examining how mixtapes were utilized as DIY promotional materials in the early days of Hip-Hop, and the other examining how club mixes were produced and disseminated among the Queer community during the AIDS Crisis -- aim to examine how these types of objects are produced and by whom, and who is able to access them depending where they ended up. In full, this thesis seeks to position the mixtape as a unique, consumer-produced cultural object, and call attention to specific preservation concerns.


4:15 - 5:15 pm - Seraphim Arlievsky

Michelson Theater 

Reclaiming Strawberry Fields: Gosfilmofond in Post-Soviet Russia

This thesis explores the recent history of the Gosfilmofond, the state film archive of the Russian Federation. In particular how the archive has changed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and how political ideology has impacted its approach to film preservation. Furthermore, an attempt is made to contextualize the archive in the wider archival systems of post-Soviet Russia, and to explore the way in which Gosfilmofond has interacted with archives in former Soviet republics.


Friday 3/31

10-11 am - Liza Kastrilevich

Michelson Theater 

Preserving Ukraine’s Truth: Archiving Video Evidence of Human Rights Violations during the Russian Invasion

This thesis synthesizes war documentation, ethical issues, and the international justice system by highlighting born-digital collections of video evidence of the war in Ukraine, comparing it to past war documentation, and creating a unified, archival model for future conflicts. Although many entities are currently collecting video evidence of the war, this thesis focuses on Ukrainian institutions that are gathering war evidence, and their methodology surrounding their video collections in terms of authenticity and preservation efforts. The goal is for these video collections to be archived and preserved, and it is imperative that the crimes committed during this war will shed pertinent light on these human rights violations and bring access to justice. Slava Ukraini!


RSVP here by Friday March 24th