This summer we were very happy to welcome Miyuki Meyer as our awesome Roselani Media Preservation Intern! Miyuki is currently halfway through the MLIS program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she works as the Media Preservation Graduate Assistant at the Preservation Services of the University Library. She has a background in photography and video, and received her MFA in Visual Arts from SUNY at Purchase College. Miyuki grew up between Tokyo/Kagoshima, and Sharjah, U.A.E, and has been living in the U.S. for almost 10 years. We asked Miyuki a few questions to learn a bit more about her.
What brought you here to ‘Ulu‘ulu? What are some of the things you’re hoping to learn during your internship with us?
As Hawai‘i’s state regional moving image archive, ‘Ulu‘ulu’s growing audiovisual collection retains collective voices and memories of local communities’ past. I am most inspired by the archives’ mission to safeguard this history, and provide long-term preservation and access of the analog and digital collection through collaborative efforts. Amongst the many things I would like to learn, some of them include collection management, digital asset management, cataloguing native Hawaiian content, and maintaining and operating a video digitization lab.
What projects are you working on at ‘Ulu‘ulu?
I am working on two projects: processing Juniroa Productions materials, and digitizing raw footage of “Holo Mai Pele,” a traditional hula performance that tells the legendary tale of the two Hawaiian goddesses, Pele and Hi‘iaka. The raw footage was recorded on over 90 analog videotapes, and produced by Pacific Islanders in Communications. In my processing work, I’ve rehoused and reshelved a wide range of audiovisual formats in ‘Ulu‘ulu’s cold storage vault, and updated cataloguing records of the rehoused items using MAVIS. I have digitized almost 40 videotapes so far, and I’ve been learning about the overall video digitization and quality control workflow for best digital preservation practices. Outside of these projects, I also assist with environmental monitoring, and exhibit set up.
Is there anything about the videos you are working with that is surprising or unexpected?
As a new student of Hawaiian culture and history, I’ve enjoyed learning about hula ‘aiha‘a, which is a form of traditional hula dance that stems from the Pele clan, and pays tribute to the island and to Pele and Hiʻiaka (see Holo Mai Pele Educator’s Guide). It is humbling to see the performers rehearse and repeat countless segments of the same performance over and over again, and the powerful, beautiful poetic songs that accompany the dance movements that echo the forces of nature on the island has been an incredible experience. I was awed by the performers’ resilience, and the connection the dance has to their ʻāina. As I’ve navigated throughout O‘ahu on my days off, especially trekking the grounds of the hiking trails, my appreciation for Holo Mai Pele, as well as learning about the Hawaiian culture, has grown with each videotape. As an immigrant who has spent much of my life abroad, the connection people have to their home is personally significant. I was not expecting how much I would be drawn to the content of the videotapes, and how much this project would have a positive effect on me.
Now that you have worked as a Moving Image Archivist and with Hawaiian cultural materials, what is your favorite aspect of the job and why?
With my interests in ideas of home and culture, I appreciate how working with Hawaiian cultural materials as a Moving Image Archivist means that I get to be part of the initiative to preserve local culture. My favorite aspect of the job is the real time capture process to video digitization, and researching the content of the production. This has allowed me to engage with the collection as a viewer to acquire an understanding of what is involved in the production tapes, as well as be an active participant. A lot of the videotapes I’ve worked on have been insightful, including the Ah Quon McElrath oral history tapes I’ve had a pleasure of watching.
So you’ve been here for a few weeks now, what are you enjoying most about Hawai‘i?
I’ve been spending on average 3-4 hours on TheBus everyday, which definitely sounds dreadful, but I’ve enjoyed exploring different neighborhoods on the island by foot. This has exposed me to how multicultural and diverse Hawai‘i is, and as someone who has been raised in a multicultural family, I felt at ease and at home. One of my favorite destinations is the Hawai‘i State Art Museum, where it exhibits a fantastic collection of artwork that reflects and forms observations on the history of the island. I got to see the Disney movie, Moana, in the native Hawaiian language on the outdoor fields of the Bishop Museum, and the Dead of Night, a powerful play by Edward Sakamoto at Kumu Kahua Theatre. Both were amazing experiences where I got to celebrate local culture with my coworkers at ‘Ulu‘ulu. The coffee at Morning Glass Coffee has been exceptional, where you are surrounded by a gorgeous mountain view of the Mānoa neighborhood. There is a short hike up north, where the trail leads up through the Lyon Arboretum and the Mānoa falls, where one is immersed in the lush greens of the mountain.
We hear that you are a foodie, what local delicacies have you discovered?
I took an hour bus ride to visit the Liliha Bakery to try their coco puff and poi donut, which was totally worth it. One morning Robbie, the Digital Media Specialist at ‘Ulu‘ulu, brought in a vintage pink box with blue lettering that read “Leonard’s Bakery,” which contained hot malasadas, a local Portuguese delicacy. Plain, haupia, chocolate filled malasadas. I am definitely going to miss these!
Do you have any advice for future Roselani Media Preservation Interns?
Beyond the duties of your internship, the overall experience depends upon what you make of it. My personal experience of working with Hawaiian cultural materials has been increasingly enriching as I’ve taken the time to explore the island, and learn about local culture and history. Visiting local museums, public libraries, historical sites, and trekking the grounds of the island are important parts of this internship. These explorations have heightened my awareness of working with cultural materials. In a way, it makes you realize how preserving native voices, its history and culture, are valuable initiatives to be part of.
Thanks to the generous support of the Henry Ku‘ualoha & Muriel Roselani Giugni Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, the Roselani Media Preservation Internship is offered each year at ‘Ulu‘ulu to give a student of merit who is committed to the preservation of our media history the opportunity to acquire practical experience in a moving image archive.