My name is Ioannis Papaloizou and I am from Cyprus. My educational background is in film and video production (I obtained my Bachelor’s degree at the School of Visual Arts in New York) and more recently in “Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image” (prof. Master’s degree of the University of Amsterdam). At the university in Amsterdam we had the opportunity to concentrate on a more of a theoretical analysis on archiving. We got involved with core questions such as why this necessity to archive in the first place, the ethics involved in choosing what to include in a human cultural depository, how artifacts actually get archived, the potential of possible physical degradation in years to come, and what would this mean to both the archivists and the public, that is ultimately aimed for.
My interest in archiving arose specifically after working with the programming department of the Los Angeles Film Festival and their archiving tactics of safekeeping numerous submissions. From then on I also gained similar work experience with AFI Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards. Most recently I have been accepted at WITNESS, where I am presently doing my internship in the Media Archive department (also for a University credit). WITNESS is of a particular interest to me because, apart from the fact that they are a human rights organization that I respect, I am also interested in its incentives due to my background heritage that further accentuates my interest in working with them: that is, Cyprus is still unlawfully divided and occupied by the Turks.
Within the organization, practically speaking, I am able to see first-hand how the theory of what I learned thus far is put into practice and how it can be applied onto the every day matters that concern the archive. How the archive itself deals with current technological situations and how it aims to keep its depository up-to-date and compatible with technology. The home project I will be working on for the next few months here at WITNESS will be mainly focused on the production of “Operation Fine Girl: Rape Used as a Weapon of War in Sierra Leone.” This human rights violation case concerns the use of rape of young girls as a war tool, in Sierra Leone, and the aftermath of these girls in the broader societal context. Girls ranging anywhere from 12 to 22 are forcefully abducted by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and taken away from their households to become their wives, their sex slaves, their servants. My own task includes watching through all the raw material in the archive, identifying it and carefully logging it, choosing possible shots for uploading onto the Hub, WITNESS’ online share platform, creating appropriate physical folders for all relevant information, as well as enriching the already existing digital files concerning this case for better search results.