Huey-Min Chuang | Senior Director of Business and Economic Development
Before I came to Faber, I was wishing for some peace and quiet to dig deep into my memoir writing. However, once at Faber in Olot, not only did I find fertile soil for writing, I also found profound inspiration from its people and surroundings in the presence of rebirth after volcanic eruptions since 1426.
The archivistic thematic residence gave me an opportunity to meet an international community of professionals interested not only in the preservation of records and implementation of information systems for use into posterity, but a group of individuals passionate about their work, lives, and curious to make new friends and embark on cross border collaborations and conversations.
The five star gastronomic experiences over our nightly dinners and homemade gourmet lunches improvised in the Faber apartment kitchen provided great platforms for intense discussions on how archiving differs from record keeping. They also gave us pause to consider why corporate business community should care about the standards and regulations of enterprise information management system/s that could lead to the conservation and integrity of information, if they do not benefit its bottom line, enhance corporate image, or provide for insights that can turn into industry competitive strategies.
At our workshops we were challenged to think how governments differ in their interests in record keeping and their propensity to put up barriers in the compliance of freedom of information to the public, even if strict laws are in place. In another event, we found it educational what one of the participants from Brazil had to go through to find basic information about who is in charge of information at 19 universities. Perhaps the most intriguing outcome of her thesis was that a gardener, a nurse, and a driver had key responsibilities in the archivistic duties at their respective institutions. Furthermore, we were surprised to learn that, what contributes most to the authenticity and truthful representation of data that we use in corporate environments hinges on the organization behaviors of those who collect and provide preservation and integrity of records.
In my own presentation that launched the international ambassadorial efforts of the Future Historical Society of Fort Greene/ Downtown Brooklyn, I was happy to use group activities and share the story of origination, planning, and execution of a community archive that begun five months ago among twenty five strangers with the same passion and dedicated mission of celebrating the voices of places and their people. With the residents at Faber, we ended the session by committing ourselves to encourage preservation of forgotten stories, partaking in the celebration of important events in our gentrifying neighborhoods, highlighting the contributions of marginalized communities, and recording forgotten heritages.
In between all the writings and exchanges that I was able to do at Faber, I was encouraged to pack in soulful walks into the Volcan Montsacopa, the Fageda forest, a visit to Sant Pau, the Volcan Museum, an observation on Spanish election day of civic voting places around town, a visit to an outdoor market on Sant Jordi of books and roses, and a Monday Farm exchange at the public square. All in all, in a short week, from Easter to Labor Day in Catalunya, I fell in love with Faber and Olot. “This is a residency of the mind, body, and soul, unlike anything I have experienced before,” I exclaimed.
I met Pep Seu, the official photographer of volcanoes in Olot on top of Montsacopa; Francisco Molas, a local farmer, painter, and retired metal worker inside the Supermarket Mercadona; an 88 year old lady practicing how to walk with a cane and an umbrella with her mouth full of joy and wild flowers; Francesc Serés with his incredible stories of lives lived and made on the mountains and across various jobs; and the ever welcoming smile of Gavina Freixa, always ready to make our stay more amazing and our dreams come true while riding the rainbows of Olot showers. Further, I am moved and uplifted by the story of Christopher Columbus of La Fageda, and the production of Ratafia Russert in situ.
I cannot thank Olot, Faber, Hotel Riu, and each of the residents enough for all the experiences and incredible memories that I now keep. I drink to you and feel deep gratitude for everyone I encountered with a sweet toast of renewal.