Archival Footage Screening Explores An Unassuming City

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Zoe Strauss: Ten Years runs through April 22, chronicling a decade of the photographer’s work. The show within the Parkway’s centerpiece should in fact be juxtaposed with one of her earlier guerrilla exhibits along the columns of I-95; her photographic interests have similarly stressed the hidden niches of the city (among other locales). At times brutally honest, yet always expansive.

It is Strauss’ sense of exposing her common characters’ scars (literal or otherwise) that has in part inspired Temple University Libraries’ Urban Archives and Megawords Magazine in their corollary screening of archival video footage, to be presented at the museum this Sunday, at 2:30PM. Gleaned from Temple’s impressive repository of ABC6 and CBS3 news footage, the collection explores “everyday Philadelphians, their challenges, rituals, celebrations and public spaces,” spanning 1948 to 1976.

In the past, Megawords had utilized the Urban Archive’s collection in their book Public Wall Writing In Philadelphia. Such familiarity with the source material came in great help to the selection process, says Temple assistant archivist John Pettit, the screening’s curator.

“I aimed to find material where the news cameras got out into the neighborhoods, covered unconventional issues or challenged the viewers,” Pettit reflects. “Although there are a few produced documentary bits or parts with anchors, I also aimed to include footage that feels like an unmediated gaze on a certain time and place in the city.”

The event is free, seeing as Sunday is pay-as-you-wish. You can RSVP on Facebook HERE.


About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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