January 26, 2016

From Clay To The Cloud

From Clay To The Cloud
On View at the Laband Art Gallery
Loyola Marymount University

January 23 – March 20, 2016

Opening Reception Was Saturday, January 23, 2-5pm
Talks were by Brewster Kahle, Founder of Internet Archive
and Artist Nuala Creed, Creator of 116 Clay Archivists

Clay Archivists by Noela Creed

Clay Archivists by Artist Nuala Creed

From Clay to The Cloud explores the human impetus to preserve our knowledge, our memory, and our cultural heritage. Twenty years ago, the Internet Archive took on the challenge of creating a digital repository—a 21st-century Library of Alexandria—where swaths of our lives from the Internet and other sources will be stored for generations to come. In order to be useful, this unfathomably vast collection of data (over 20 petabytes and growing) needs to be explored and activated by humans who seek to tell stories and make sense of it. The exhibition looks at past and present archival practices and asks what are we saving, how will others be able to access it, and what will our cultural legacy be for the future?


Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive.

Ancient clay cuneiforms are on view as well as artist Nuala Creed’s wonderful ceramic statues depicting the people who are building the Internet Archive–crucial reminders of the human involvement in this digital library. These unsung heroes of preservation cast in clay and immortalized for their own contribution to recorded history.

Hands-on displays offer visitors the opportunity to dive into the vast “storerooms” of the Internet Archive.  I was able to pull up several of my own early online marketing efforts!  A wall of monitors convey both the unfathomable vastness of the archive and shine a spotlight on different specific aspects of the archive (pulling needles out of the haystack). A listening station, made up of music from the Internet Archive’s collection, can be perused in comfortable chairs. Sorry, no sleeping allowed!

A gaming station offers visitors the opportunity to play a handful of video games archived on the Internet Archive. These games span the history and evolution of video gaming from Pong to PacMan. There’s also an 3-D Occulus Rift demonstration station that was constantly busy, with a long waiting line fascinated watching the movements of the current Rift wearer.  I never got back to try it myself, so I need to schedule another visit try it out.

Clay Archivists by Artist Nuala Creed

Clay Archivists by Artist Nuala Creed

Laband and Hannon staff using a Table Top Scribe—the Internet Archive’s new state-of-the-art book scanner

Laband and Hannon staff using a Table Top Scribe—the Internet Archive’s new state-of-the-art book scanner

During the course of the exhibition, Laband and Hannon staff will be using a Table Top Scribe—the Internet Archive’s new state-of-the-art book scanner–in the gallery to digitally archive rare materials from the library’s special collections and Laband exhibition catalogues.  Seeing this in actual operation was fascinating.  It uses two Nikon 1 Digital cameras connected to a PC Workstation to give a high resolution scan.  From Clay To The Cloud has a bit of something for everybody, and is well worth your time to head down to the Laband Art Gallery and see up close and personal.

The fascinating part of the book scanning was seeing the actual original hand painted plates, and the care to accurately scan all the detail, texture, and color without damaging the originals, many of which are quite fragile.  Even fragile spine bindings of turn of the century books are not in any danger of damage from this carefully designed Table Top Scribe machine.


Clay Archivists by Artist Nuala Creed

I found all of this exhibit fascinating, interesting, and positively captivating.  Everywhere I turned, it was NerdFest 2016 carefully blended with a fine balance of the visual arts displayed at their finest.  Overall, an excellent exhibit and one I highly recommend!  But you want to know the biggest thrill of this for me?  I get to be the archivist for the archivists.  This very document your reading right now will be archived by the archivists with their crawler later on.  So in a sense, I have recorded the history of this event photographically, and presented the story in a way that stands the best long term chance of survival known to this man today. Thanks Brewster, it was great to meet you!

Exhibition-Related Programs:  (all events are free)

Opening Reception & Talk: Nuala Creed & Brewster Kahle 
Saturday, January 23, 2-5pm  ◊ Artist’s Talk 2:00-3:00pm  ◊ Reception 3:00-5:00pm
Murphy Recital Hall and Laband Art Gallery
Internet Archive Founder Brewster Kahle and artist Nuala Creed offered insight into the archive and Creed’s unique artistic commission. The talk was followed by a free reception. The talk was co-organized by the Laband Art Gallery and KaleidoLA: The Speaker Series of the Department of Art and Art History.  Thanks so much for putting this event on folks, we had a wonderful time!

Clay Archivists by Artist Nuala Creed

Clay Archivists by Artist Nuala Creed

Ask An Archivist Panel
Wednesday. February 10, 5:30-7:00 pm
Von der Ahe Suite 322, William H. Hannon Library
Archivists representing diverse archives from across Southern California will discuss the relationship between researchers and archivists in the digital age.

Clay Archivists by Artist Nuala Creed

Clay Archivists by Artist Nuala Creed

DIY Archiving Workshop & Exhibition Tour
Saturday. February 13, 9:30am-12:30pm
Von der Ahe Suite 322, William H. Hannon Library
Learn how to best preserve your treasured documents, images, and objects, both print and digital. The workshop will be followed by a tour of the exhibition with curator Carolyn Peter.
Conversation: Gaming, Its Past and Its Future, Tracy Fullerton & Tom Klein
Tuesday, March 8, 7pm LMU Von der Ahe Building, Room 190
USC Game Designer/Professor Tracy Fullerton and LMU Animation Professor Tom Klein will discuss how traditions of analog and digital game design inform the creative process of current video game development. This program is co-organized with the School of Film and Television.
Talk: The Dark Side: Your Personal Archive, Data Collection, & Privacy
Date and Time TBD
TBD Location
Other types of archiving and data collection are occurring on a daily basis around our shopping, browsing, and physical location. Where is this information going and how do citizens protect their privacy in a digital age? This program is co-organized with the Department of Communication Studies.

Gallery Information
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Admission: Admission is free.
Parking is available on campus for a charge on the weekdays and for free on the weekends.

Brewster Kahle (/ˈkl/ kayl;[2] born October 22, 1960)[1] is an American computer engineerInternet entrepreneur, internet activist, advocate of universal access to all knowledge, and digital librarian.[3] He is the founder of the Internet Archive, the Internet Archive Federal Credit Union, Alexa and Thinking Machines and a member of the Internet Hall of Fame. – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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