SITE INFO

NEW LOCATION? I decided to move Preservation Insanity (man, do I regret that name now) here from its previous location for various reasons, and fix it up a bit. All previous posts are intact. If you’ve bookmarked or listed the site on your site, please do update the address (and thanks for your support!) The following is just background/contextual information for new/masochistic visitors.

FIRST TIME HERE? For those who haven’t been here before, this site is basically an ongoing collection of material usually pertaining to the conservation and preservation/restoration of experimental films. Other stuff will creep in from time to time, but that’s the primary focus. My name is Mark Toscano, I’m based in Los Angeles, and have been a film preservationist specializing in experimental films since 2003, prior to which I worked at Canyon Cinema for three years, so I’ve been pretty deeply immersed in this work for quite a while now. I love what I do, and I also love sharing information, discoveries, filmic anomalies, and whatever arcane empirical knowledge I’ve picked up by doing this work, so thanks very much for your interest in this site.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Its primary structure is that of a blog, since that’s the easiest way to share the combination of text and images that my posts tend to comprise. At some point I’d like to add a few other features that I’ve been mulling, such as a guide to historical 8mm/Super 8/16mm film stocks for the archivist/historian (which is pretty fleshed out already), and other information having to do with the conservation of and interaction with independently produced media.

WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THIS SITE? Media archivists (even those that hate experimental film), experimental filmmakers, film nerds in general (especially film preservation nerds), film academics, curators, film students, art conservation professionals and students, projectionists, photography people, etc. I’m being presumptuous, but I’d like to think folks from any/all of these categories could find something of interest here!

WHY/WHEN DID THIS START? I started this site very impetuously in 2007 just to share a few images of interesting things I encountered in my work as a film preservationist. It turned into something mildly more ambitious than that, and I was honestly amazed at how many people took an interest in it. The regular laments I hear from friends and colleagues (and strangers, even) about the lack of regular posts is both extremely flattering and deeply shame-inducing, especially since I do want to make writing about and sharing this information a more regular part of what I do. So thanks for your encouragement, I’ll try to be better!

MORE INFO YOU DON’T NEED? After procrastinating for two years and not posting anything, I started posting things on Instagram instead (@preservationinsanity if you want to follow). Doing that for a bit got me back in the regular habit of sharing this kind of material, and that platform was more conducive to quick discoveries, observations, and notions, whereas this site had seemed to demand more involved, essayistic writing. I’m going to try instead to synthesize the two approaches and get more regular info up here — some brief, some more involved.

GOT A QUESTION? Feel free to send me questions/requests/suggestions via the Contact tab, I’ll do my best to respond. If there’s a project you’d like to hear about, a film stock, a specific filmmaker or film, a question you have about film preservation or experimental film or both, etc., don’t hesitate to contact me. Hope you enjoy the site!

A BRIEF DISCLAIMER? The texts appearing on this site remain the property of their respective authors (Mark Toscano, unless noted). Ownership/copyright of images may vary. Please don’t hesitate to reach me via the CONTACT page to inquire about re-use. Thanks!

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One thought on “SITE INFO”

  1. Thanks Mark Toscano for this wonderful information on Stan’s Fire of Waters which we distributed at LFMC along with many but not all of the films you mention. There was little about the film other than Stan’s catalogue entry on deposit. We ran a weekly midnight underground programme as FLUX at a posh bijou cinema in Knightsbridge when the Co-op was being taken over by socio-politico correct drabness in the early to mid 90’s. We made a habit of showing films which we knew about with films we’d never had the chance to see and Fire of Waters was such along with Hell Spit Flexion and completely other De Landa’s Libidinal Economy of Filmus Interruptus. Well we used to have to rig the 16mm and speakers etc every week cos we couldn’t patch into their Dolby A stereo 35mm system and we were always having sound monitoring problems and in out ignorance about the nature of Fire of Waters sound we were crawling around on our hands and knees wiggling the connections as complaints came from the audience that something was up with out connections!!! Only on stopping the film and holding the track up to some torchlight did we realise that the shushing and spitting sound emanated from the clear track. This was similar to the sound produced by one of my favourite films of Kurt Kren Bäume im Herbst with its pale grey hand painted sound track and Rohfilm of the Heins though it had lots of junk sound film also had junk silent with scratch disturbance. That film ended up in the dustbin at a Goethe Institute screening as the projectionist thought it was a junk reel (rescued by yours truly). So it occured to me that these films impishly or most seriously provoked projectionist audience intervention – so rather than materiality, the physicality of the muck on the sound translated by the optical into a sound signal was or generated something of a performance, a kind of action film – so the film continues to be in the
    making and performs and causes actions differently on each projection. We met at the Tate when you presented Chick Strand’s films and at NFT3 at the Kurt McDowell.

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