Over an eight-week period this summer, the New Museum hosted “XFR STN” (Transfer Station), a media archiving project that included transferring video material from the Monday/Wednesday/Friday Video Club (MWF) distribution project, founded in 1986 by Alan W. Moore and Colab (Collaborative Projects, Inc.). MWF’s early aspirations for democratic distribution led to an embrace of technologies newly available in the 1980s—what Moore called, “The twin communications innovations of home video… Read more
The New Museum dedicated its Fifth Floor gallery space to “XFR STN” (Transfer Station), an open-door artist-centered media archiving project.
Matthew Geller answering phones during the live call-in segment of Cara Perlman’s End of the World show, produced for Potato Wolf, a project of Colab TV, ca. 1978
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“XFR STN” initially arose from the need to preserve the Monday/Wednesday/Friday Video Club distribution project. MWF was a co- op “store” of the artists ́ group Colab (Collaborative Projects, Inc.), directed by Alan Moore and Michael Carter from 1986–2000, which showed and sold artists’ and independent films and videos on VHS at consumer prices.
The “XFR STN” at the New Museum will also address the wider need in the community of artists for access to media capture and migration services as a means to preserve creative productions stored in aging and obsolete audiovisual and digital formats. In addition to digitizing a portion of MWF Video Club’s collection (currently housed in a storage unit in Staten Island), the “XFR STN” will be used to preserve various materials from the New Museum’s own rich archive (including video formats such as U-matic and VHS tapes). In keeping with the original policies of the MWF Video Club, “XFR STN” will be open to any artist-originated moving image or born-digital materials whose formats have become obsolete. The exhibition/lab will operate publically, informally exhibiting the material that is transferred, as well as rendering it available online through archive.org, an internet library whose mission includes offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.
Consistent with the dictum “distribution is preservation,” the project argues for circulation as a mode of conservation. “XFR STN” will serve as a collection and dissemination point for artist-produced content, as well as a hub for information about these past projects (including production materials and personal recollections). The project is both a pragmatic public service and an activity as metaphor: an opportunity to present aspects of a mediatic production process in continuous dynamic transformation.
The New Museum is accepting online requests for participation in onsite material transfers. Please visit xfrstn.newmuseum.org for more information.
“XFR STN” is a project by Alan W. Moore with Taylor Moore, Alexis Bhagat, and the artists of Collaborative Projects, supported by the Solo Foundation. It is organized by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement, with Ben Fino-Radin, Digital Conservator, Rhizome; Tara Hart, Digital Archivist, New Museum; and Jen Song, Associate Director of Education, New Museum.