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Four Elements

Digitized film and video in the Archives

by Margaret Huang on 2020-09-17T10:19:39-04:00 | Comments

Screen shot from black and white footage of museum exterior

Screenshot of black and white footage of museum exterior, circa 1929.

In 2017, the museum's Van Pelt Auditorium closed for the core project. Stored in Van Pelt was a treasure trove of audiovisual material. It included a wide range of media from museum events, including footage from exhibitions, interviews, lectures and performances. It also included commercially produced films, which the museum used when it ran a film series and lending library. These films were transferred to the Anthology Film Archives, but those that were created by museum employees or document the museum or its collections were retained and digitized. Highlights include black and white footage of the museum from circa 1929, installation footage of Franklin's Footpath by Gene Davis (1972), and the documentary Manifestations of Shiva (1980). However, the majority of the material comprise of video and tape based formats. Processing of this material is still in progress but we have been able to digitize some important videos, including a lecture on consumerism and design by Ralph Nader (1983), programming related to the exhibition Apropos of Marcel Duchamp (1987), and the world premier of the concert version of Fantastic Prayers (1997) by Constance DeJong, Tony Oursler and Stephen Vitiello. 

You can browse the titles available in this collection here. Please contact the Archives to receive access to the files for items that have been digitized. Access to other materials may be limited due to format. Digitization was generously supported by the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


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