Each month, we are featuring interviews with the volunteer staff that make ATA possible, recognizing their work at ATA and their contribution to our vibrant artistic community.
Here is an interview with Dayv Jones who has been a volunteer since the late nineties.
How did you first become involved with ATA?
I wish I could remember the first show I went to at ATA. I was probably still living in the sunset and just happened across the space and immediately felt at home, probably pre-earthquake 1988/1989. Soon after I moved to the mission and ATA quickly became one of my favorite venues in the city, not only for the amazing shows but for the true DIY/punk rock philosophy of the space, something that has become all too rare in this town of late. After getting my first camcorder in 1991, I took advantage of $5 classes learning basic shooting and editing techniques.
You started volunteering at ATA in the late 90’s. Can you tell us what ATA was like back then?
One of the first things I did after returning from Boston in 1998 was begin volunteering at ATA. I hadn’t fully realized it when I first lived in San Francisco but ATA represents my ideal of what a San Francisco art space should be, and I still believe it is as close to anything that remains here to the international ideal of the spirit of SF. The spirit of the beats, hippies and punks that have helped define what San Francisco means to the world, a global view that few cities have attained, still lives within the walls of ATA if not anywhere else. I believe the reason——- we continue to attract international artists and volunteers is because we imbibe that global ideal – the DIY artist friendly ecotopia myth- of SF’s spirit.
The space had just gone through a major change when I started and I was part of an influx of new volunteers. At the time we still had basic video and editing classes and an editing suite, we were open and usually had a volunteer present from 10-10 everyday. I enjoyed the fact that we were a space where people could learn and create but these aspects of ATA got phased out during the 2000’s as artists were able to do these things at home more easily. Though we have gone from a multi-use facility to mostly a screening space the overall spirit and culture of the space remains unchanged.
What makes you want to continue to volunteer?
This is my home, my family. I continue to be inspired by the variety of both people and works that grace our space.
How has being involved with ATA inspired you as a video artist?
ATA has inspired me in so many ways. The amazing work of international and local artists and musicians that continue to pass through the space are an endless source of inspiration, as are my fellow volunteers and the amazing work they do. The space itself has offered me the ability to experiment and refine my work in a way that wouldn’t have been available anywhere else. Even the equipment is sometimes inspiring. One late night, about 5 am sometime in 2001, I was working on a piece of looped audio. I had been using this deck for many hours and it started to get tired and began not quite recording the sound right, sort of a warbly stop/start effect that ended up being perfect audio for my piece.
As part of your job at ATA, you have been running ATV, ATA’s TV show. What is ATV all about?
ATV began airing on cable access in 1988, when I started volunteering at ATA Sadie Shaw was the point person for the program and handed the reigns to me and Kent Howie in 2001. Over 700 shows have been produced with an amazing array of local and international artists. The next phase of this project is preserving this work and making these shows available online.
What would you say is needed to be a volunteer here?
Patience and humor and perhaps a little creativity.
What is the craziest or coolest thing you have seen at ATA so far?
I have seen so many great artists, musicians and events it is impossible to just put one. My most vivid memories seem to be the parties, when the staff gets together to just let loose and have fun.
Volunteer with ATA!
ATA is looking for volunteers to help with our Gallery and our Screenings. Volunteers run screenings, organize events, curate shows, and get stuff done. Volunteers can come to any ATA show for free. We need people who are creative and reliable.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and become a part of something good.