Translating Interfaces in the Ms. Magazine Archive

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Fabiola Hanna Irene Lusztig


Yours in Sisterhood is an iterative, multimodal media project that includes a 2018 feature length performative documentary, produced and directed by filmmaker Irene Lusztig, and a digital archive co-created by Lusztig and digital media scholar-artist Fabiola Hanna that is currently in production. While the digital YiS archive is still a work in progress, we put forward our work on this large-scale interactive project as a case study for considering methodologies and practices of archival translation as we move from original paper documents in an interface of folders and boxes to video footage to a browser-based digital archive. These multiple YiS translations provide a compelling case study because of their significant shifts in interpretation: from the librarian’s interface work of cataloguing, preserving, and organising the letters in folders and boxes, to the filmmaker’s interface work of editing the video readings into the form of a documentary, and finally to the current collaborative interface work of designing the video database and its query system that populates the online project. Such critical and scholarly attention to the translation of archives at the interface level will facilitate analysis and assessment of the labour, the decisions, and losses and gains of these types of translations. 

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