Notes On The Idea Of Archive

«The archive, whose very name evokes the language of origins and the promise of mastery-in its double etymology arché famously signifies both “command” and “origin“-confounds every beginning and every rule. If the aporia of the “heap” turns out, in every case, to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back-the camel in this case being the dream of narrative consistency, and thus the very possibility of history-writing as a sequential temporal and logical ordering (before and after, cause and effect)-this leads us to the startling conclusion that the archive, condition of possibility of remembrance, exceeds and confounds the time of history. The collection, source, and reservoir of recollection, is itself suspended in the immemorial.» [Rebecca Comay, “introduction,” Lost in the Archives, ed . R. Comay (Toronto: Alphabet City Media Inc., 2002), p. 14.]

«The archive… is not only the place for stocking and conserving an archivable content of the past which would exist in any case, such as, without the archive, one still believes it was or will have been. No, the technical structure of thearchiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content even in its very coming into existence and in its relationship to the future. The archivization produces as much as it records the event.» [Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, trans. E. Prenowitz (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).]

«For, that a recollection should reappear in consciousness, it is necessary that it should descend from the heights of pure memory down to the precise point where action is taking place. In other words, it is from the present that the appeal to which memory responds comes, and it is from the sensori-motor elements of present action that a memory borrows the warmth which gives it life.» [Henri Bergson, “The Persistence of the Past,” From Matter and Memory in Key Writings, trans. and ed. K.A. Pearson and J. Mullarkey (New York: Continuum, 2002), pp. 132-133.]

(in BALSOM, Erika, Qu’est-ce qu’une madeleine interactive?: Chris Marker’s Immemory and the Possibility of a Digital Archive)


About faqonespionage

Look Mom No Head é um colectivo de designers, cientistas visuais, pensadores a full-time, — espiões do quotidiano e do cosmos. Alimenta-se da entropia dos sistemas: zonas autónomas temporárias, jornadas para o desconhecido, mapas para territórios-não-demarcáveis, narrativas instáveis, perspectivas distorcidas, reflexivas e refractárias, fórmulas matemáticas, estruturas e processos recursivos, conspirações e pseudónimos neoistas, redundâncias e reticências.

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