Axlegrease, the U-matic Tape Years
About the Project:
In 1987 Squeaky Wheel began producing a public access cable program called Axlegrease – a weekly installment of curated selections of experimental video art and documentary films from a wide array of local and national artists through artist, collective, and/or public access partner station submission. Axlegrease, the U-matic Tape Years is a unique collection of digitized ¾” tapes with significant historical and cultural value.
An affectionate play on Squeaky Wheel’s name, Axlegrease was created for Western New York’s public access cable systems and channels, and was broadcast on a weekly basis in the region and on partner public access cable stations throughout the nation. The collection focuses on work spanning 1987 to 1999 (a.k.a. the U-matic Years), and includes a diverse and inclusive pool of internationally renowned artists and media artworks.
Thanks to generous support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and their Recordings at Risk grant, from 2019-2020 Squeaky Wheel’s Archive Committee has been able to work with Media Transfer Services in Rochester, NY to digitize the at-risk ¾” U-matic tapes in the Axlegrease collection so that it can become accessible and be preserved for future generations.
Collection metadata can be found here:
*Please note that the metadata created in the course of funded project activities are dedicated to the public domain under a CC0 Creative Commons. To request a link to view any of the Axlegrease episodes found in the spreadsheet, fill out our Axlegrease Access Intake Form.
A best practices for 3⁄4” U-matic tape preservation guide can be found here:
Produced in collaboration with SUNY Buffalo State’s College’s Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department
Watch a short documentary about Axlegrease and the preservation project here: https://vimeo.com/413822367
Produced in collaboration with SUNY Buffalo State’s College’s Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department and Lumiflux Media
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or any inquiries regarding Squeaky Wheel’s Axlegrease archive collection.
This project is made possible with generous support by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and their Recordings at Risk grant.