We are happy to announce that Lucy Waldrop will join Special Collections in September as the project archivist on the Helen and Newton Harrison papers project. This is an NEH-funded project and will conclude in February 2016. Lucy comes to us from Wichita State University, where as a project archivist, she processed several large collections including that of photographer and film director Gordon Parks. The Harrison collection is a significant acquisition and this preservation and processing project is one of several art projects being undertaken by Special Collections in collaboration with the Art Library in the coming year.
Artists Helen and Newton Harrison were pioneers of socially-oriented ecological and conceptual art and continue to have a significant impact on contemporary scholars, artists, scientists, and activists far beyond the immediate fields of art and ecology. They have played leading roles in inciting a shift in the consideration of what actually constitutes an art practice, in the dissolution of dated understandings of the reasons and means to partner art and technology, and in demonstrating the possible outcomes of interdisciplinary artistic production. The Harrisons’ refusal to separate aesthetics and ecology results in collaborative dialogues between artists, scientists, and public officials. Their art visually maps this discourse and its resultant solutions. The acquisition of the Harrison collection by SUL perfectly reflects the Libraries’ aspiration to procure archives of individuals who have shaped our understandings of the interrelationships among the humanities, sciences, and technology in the modern era. Material from their collection was featured in a Fall 2013 exhibition/symposium at Stanford University Libraries titled "Art Meets Technology: Core Samples from Nine Archives."
The condition and formats of materials coupled with preservation and conservation needs and the opportunity to integrate both analog and born-digital materials in ground-breaking ways echoes the intersection between the humanities and technology and has inspired this grant project—to preserve and process paper, audio, video and born-digital—over the course of the next year and a half. At the end of the project, we will have processed 230 linear feet of mixed materials, reformatted all audio and video elements, re-housed artifacts and rolled drawings/maps, digitized the slides, and captured and processed born-digital material from active and inactive computers and legacy computer media (0.5 terabytes or 1.5 million files).