Christiana Dobrzynski Grippe currently is the Seth Siegelaub and Herman and Nicole Daled Archives Project Archivist at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (how’s that for a mouthful?).
ABA: In a few sentences, tell us what you’ll be presenting at ABA.
CDG: I’ll discuss my experiences tackling unexpected responsibilities that developed during my current processing project, specifically concerning my eventual heavy involvement in the donor relations side of archival management, despite my being a project archivist rather than a permanent staff member.
ABA: What do you hope audiences will get from your talk?
CDG: I’d like to see more discussion about other kinds of responsibilites besides processing that project archivists may face. Don’t get me wrong, I adore processing and can talk for days about it. But I think challenges such as creative applications of outreach efforts, donor relations, acquisitions and appraisal, reference, and becoming an integral part of the organization as a whole deserve to be recognized as great opportunities as well. I don’t want to forget that our profession ultimately is people-based!
ABA: What was the most interesting archives-related thing you’ve read or seen recently?
CDG: I’m always curious about how artists make use of archival materials or re-appropriate what they perceive as archives; I think it’s important to have an awareness about how people who are not trained as archivists interact with records. I recently saw an art exhibition of Joëlle Tuerlinckx’s work at the WIELS contemporary art center in Brussels. She used records and documents from her own “archives” as an artist and “reactivated” them by incorporating them into new works and installations specifically for this show. It was thought-provoking in a way that challenges how we think about the life-cycle of records, archives, and art.
ABA: On a scale from 1 – 10, (10 being hardest) how easy would it be for other archivists to implement the project you’re presenting here?
CDG: The basic idea of embracing creative opportunities as a project archivist should be quite easy — it requires personal motivation and perhaps some practice, so I’d say that can be scored as a 2 or 3.
ABA: Thanks Christiana! We’re looking forward to your talk!