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Politics of Sound: Listening to the Archive

Thursday, October 25, 7pm

Interference Archive presents a panel discussion that brings together a group of archivists, oral historians, librarians, and others working with collections of sound. They work in a range of disciplines–from poetry to oral history–all informed by a political approach to sound. We’ll discuss the various ways archiving sound can be a political act, including how sound archives can support organizing work, and how sound collections can contribute to the creation of historical memory, broadening the range of stories that are part of our collective history.

Speakers include Natiba Guy-Clement, Special Collections Manager at the Brooklyn Public Library, home of the Civil Rights in Brooklyn Oral History Collection; Daniel Horowitz, oral historian and poet who uses sound archives in his work; Samara Smith, Associate Professor at SUNY, who documented the sounds of Occupy Wall Street; and Mario Alvarez and Alissa Funderbunk, creators of Columbia Life Histories, a series of oral history interviews with graduate students at Columbia University.

Mario Alvarez is an oral historian and co-founder of the Columbia Life Histories Project. He holds a B.A. in History and M.A. in Oral History from Columbia University. His master’s thesis, “Being Real: The Struggle for Authenticity in the Historian-Narrator Exchange,” explored the concept of authenticity in oral history practice as a means of examining the discipline’s moral defensibility. He is currently a J.D. Candidate at NYU School of Law.

Natiba Guy-Clement is a 19 year library professional and the current Special Collections Manager at the Brooklyn Collection, Brooklyn Public Library’s, Brooklyn history division and its sole archive and rare book collection. Born and raised in Trinidad, she immigrated to Harlem, NY and started her library career at NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture as a library page. Her profound interest and love for working with special collections motivated her to obtain her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with distinction, from Pratt Institute. At the Schomburg Center she worked in several departments and varied capacities, the last being the Reference and Outreach archivist in the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division. As Manager of Special Collections, Natiba oversees the Brooklyn Collection, its digital assets, the Brooklyn Public Library’s institutional archive, and rare book collections. As a Brooklynite, Natiba enjoys using her special collections experience in service of the borough.

Alissa Funderburk is a New York native and lover of the fast paced global power that is NYC. Alissa attended Columbia University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in anthropology as a John W. Kluge Scholar. Her studies focused on race, culture, education and religion, particularly those of the African-American diaspora. After her graduation in 2012, Alissa relocated to Decatur, Alabama where she dedicated her time to pursuing family history and practicing children’s ministry.  In 2013, Alissa returned to New York and worked with Hope Church NYC as the director of kids programming and as an assistant at York Preparatory School. Last year, Alissa started the OHMA program at Columbia University as a part time student, her research focused on the religious and spiritual experiences of black men in New York City. Now Alissa joins Benji De La Piedra and the CU Life Histories Project as Lead Interviewer as they bring their efforts toward making a lasting university wide program.

Daniel Horowitz is an oral historian, literature and writing professor, forest school teacher, poet and graduate student at the New School.

Samara Smith is a documentary media practitioner and educator, creates site-specific, mobile projects in and about public space. Her work utilizes interactive and mobile strategies–such as, locative games, SMS messaging, soundwalks and augmented reality–to invite the “people formerly known as the audience” to actively explore common urban spaces. She has designed site-specific projects for many urban sites including downtown Greensboro, NC; Westwood, LA; Manhattan’s garment district, downtown Brooklyn, Midtown Manhattan, and the Queens Museum’s Panorama. Her work has been featured or exhibited at Open Engagement, Conflux Festival, Fabric of Freedom, Hammer Museum, Open Source Gallery, Governor’s Island, Elsewhere Museum and Hunter College. Smith holds an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College and is an Associate Professor of video and new media at SUNY College at Old Westbury.

 

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