Lost Treasures from Bay Area Art Archives

Published On: November 4, 2015 |

BAVC Media received funding from the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation to support a unique, collaborative effort to digitally preserve and exhibit seminal Bay Area audiovisual works that would otherwise be lost forever.

BAVC Media’s Preservation department worked with graduate students in California College for the Arts’ Curatorial Practice program to assess hundreds of audiovisual assets from the archives of four iconic Bay Area art institutions — Southern Exposure, Headlands Center for the Arts, SF Cinematheque, and Intersection for the Arts — selecting 40 key pieces that have now been digitally preserved. Spanning the genres of experimental film, visual arts, literature, performance, music, and educational programs, the artists and works selected represent the unique vitality, diversity, and experimental nature of the Bay Area’s art scene, from the 1960s to the present. BAVC Media then presented, in collaboration with CCA’s graduate program in Curatorial Practice, Lost Treasures, a three-part program and online archive that showcases these works– some, for the very first time. Written responses to the project were posted every Wednesday throughout June in conjunction with the BAVC Media blog.

Lost Treasures was made possible by a grant from the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation. It was a project of Bay Area Video Coalition’s Preservation program in collaboration with the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, and was supported by the Center for Art and Public Life, Oakland with the cooperation of Headlands Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, Intersection for the Arts and San Francisco Cinematheque.


  • There Will Be Sex (Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), May 3, 2013, 7:00 – 8:45pm)

“There Will Be Sex,” this event includes screenings by Cauleen Smith, Gunvor Nelson, Kathy Acker, and Alan Sondheim. Together these experimental films explore issues of sexuality and the body. Steve Polta, Artistic Director of San Francisco Cinematheque, provides an introduction regarding the history of San Francisco Cinematheque and experimental film in the Bay Area. The Message by Cauleen Smith explores the notion of the gaze through the lens of a lustful pursuit. Take Off by Gunvor Nelson is a satire of a strip tease performance. The Blue Tape by Kathy Acker and Alan Sondheim examines gender roles and power dynamics within relationships.

  • Show and Tell (The Lost Church, 65 Capp Street, San Francisco, May 7, 2013, 7:00 – 10:00pm)

Join us at The Lost Church to discover the second of our three-part programming series. Entitled “Show and Tell,” this event features films and performance recordings by theater collective Campo Santo, filmmaker Kathy Acker, and Filipino performance group Mail Order Brides (MOB). The event begins with the presentation of a one-of-a-kind audio interview with the late David Ireland, one of the founders of Headlands Center for the Arts. The renowned San Francisco sculptor built The Lost Church in 1979 creating his first architectural project. Guest lecturers for this event are Sean San José and Dodie Bellamy. Sean San José, Performance Program Director at Intersection for the Arts and co-founder of Campo Santo, shares with the audience his involvement with the theater collective founded in 1996. Dodie Bellamy provides a reflection on the life and work of her close friend Kathy Acker.

  • Sounds Like Art (Kadist Art Foundation, 3295 20th Street, San Francisco, May 8, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00pm)

We are glad to welcome you at Kadist Art Foundation for the last part of our programming series. Entitled “Sounds Like Art,” this event features artist’s discussions, live musical performance, and video and audio recordings. The event starts with the play of a unique audio interview with local artist Mildred Howard during her residency at Headlands Center for the Arts. Live reaction with Mildred Howard follows along with discussions about her artistic practice. A screening of Shadows of the Son by Bay Area film collective SILT (Jeff Warrin, Keith Evans and Christian Farrell) follows Howard’s talk. This film provides comments on childhood memories that may come back as haunting shadows. After the screening of a rare video recording of her work Vinculum Symphony, singer, composer, songwriter, and clarinetist Beth Custer gives a musical performance. The event concludes with an audio art piece, Cinema for the Ear, by Ken Jacobs.

Written Responses

Written responses related to Lost Treasures were originally posted on BAVC Media’s blog. They have been collected here.

Audio Files

Audio files preserved through Lost Treasures can be listened to here.