Information on apes by Broadside TV, University Community Video, and TVTV (Top Value Television
In 1983, my research into the history of '70s documentary video led me on a cross--country journey in search of historic tapes and their makers. This was my first brush with the already alarming state of video preservation. In New Orleans I excitedly located a tape I'd read about only to discover, as I opened the black plastic box, a sickeningly sweet smell emanating from the powdery white crust that covered the unplayable tape. The New Orleans Video Access Center had been inundated and their tape archive, housed in the basement, was flooded. It was the first of many such disappointments--tapes mislabeled, tapes gone missing, tapes that played for five minutes then developed into a series of black-and-white glitches, tapes made on machines that were unrepairable or nowhere to be found. Housed in garages, basements, in closets and footlockers, the precious record of an historic period lay vulnerable to fire, flood, heat, humidity, carelessness, and indifference.
I was part of the first wave of video historians, critics, and curators who uncovered the array of preservation problems confronting individual artists, media art centers, video distributors, funders, and exhibitors. Since then progress has been made in launching the vast effort at locating historic programs, cataloging them, providing archivally acceptable storage for these tapes and their playback equipment, developing reliable, low cost methods for cleaning, restoring and preserving tapes, and sharing information with others similarly en-