Tag Archives: Archival Gap

Bits and Pieces Come Rolling In – Thu February 19, 2015

It has been a kind of gratifying week with a lot of uncertainty being clarified.  As regards the schedule of activity, I have now – as of a few minutes ago – finished collecting all the still images and sound effects for the film.  These are all the archival images and sound clips that will accompany the narrator’s and voice actor’s words and film footage.

The only outstanding still image is one that I only found out about this week.  A professional artist that I am close to, named Teresa Fenton, is going to create a piece of original art for the film.  It will likely be in the form of a chalk drawing, and will be an “older-looking” image of Mary Ann Shadd.  The picture will be based on the one-and-only photograph of Mary Ann Shadd in existence, which was probably taken when Shadd was in her 20s.  And her face will be aged using as an example, the image of Shadd’s father.  Also, there is an image of Shadd’s sister that may help to give a sense of Mary Ann’s appearance.

This week I also obtained six variations on the musical theme, “Steal Away to Jesus,” performed and recorded by Jenna Richards.  They sound beautiful, and include simple, minor key, abstract, and rolling variations on the theme.  They are going to make an excellent backdrop to the narrative.

I also met with Professors Miller and Walsh, and they gave me some very helpful suggestions for the film narrative.  In particular, we had a good discussion about the “intentionality” of the burial of Black history in Canada.  They also had some good suggestions about the wrap-up of the film.

I’ve been spending some time, as well, this week, thinking about the Reflective Essay.  There are a million things I could talk about.  But I have been thinking about some of the work of theorists, like Michel Foucault, regarding “seeing” and “the gaze” since this sort of project forces one to really look hard and to consider what has been seen, in the past, and what I am seeing through my process.  I also want to consider the whole performance side of things, since this film is clearly a performance of history.  Bettina Carbonell’s “The Syntax of Objects and the Representation of History: Speaking of ‘Slavery in New York’” may be useful.  As well, Freddie Rokem’s Performing History.  And of course, Robert Rosenstone’s “History in Images/History in Words: Reflections on the Possibility of Really Putting History onto Film” will have some useful points to consider.

I also want to think about the whole ‘burial’ of Black history, and will likely be able to draw from James C. Scott’s Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts.

This coming week is going to be devoted to writing the Shooting Script.  As I’ve been tinkering with the Treatment, I’ve been adjusting the narrator’s words, so hopefully when I go to write the Script, in its formal format, a lot of what I need will already be in place.  This week I also want to get times (during the second week of March) set up to record the narrator and all the voice actors, and that is already under way.

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The Archival Gap: Missing Black Histories – Thu January 29, 2015

There seem to be a range of perceptions about why Black history is underrepresented in the archives.  Some researchers hold that the archives are at the mercy of the populations they represent and that gaps in the archive happened in the past because those populations didn’t always provide their papers for collection and preservation.  These researchers hold that some groups in the past didn’t save their papers, others didn’t record their histories, and still others just didn’t offer them to the archives.  So gaps occurred.

Other researchers hold that there are gaps in the archive because some populations were not deemed to be of interest to society, and so were overlooked.

This week I have been getting into this question of “the gap” a bit more.  I’ve been looking in particular at W. Fitzhugh Brundage’s book The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory (2005).  I’ve also been looking at James C. Scott’s book Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. (Thank you, Dr. Walsh for the loan of those.)

I’ve also been firming up plans for the interview trip to Toronto a week from tomorrow.  I’ve been adjusting my interview questions for Adrienne Shadd and Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost in an effort to capture some of these ideas about archival gaps.

I’ve also spent time this past week finding images for the film. I have a lot, but still need a few more.  So this coming week I am going to try to find the rest of the images for the film.  I will also work on finding the remaining sound effects that I still need.  And, most urgently, I will be getting the final arrangements in place for the trip to Toronto next week.

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