Thursday, March 31, 2011

A is for archive

Archive—n. A collection, especially of ephemeral, partial, unfinished manuscripts, performances or other texts intended primarily for long-term storage or preservation. This stands in contrast to a library or collection, one of which is intended to be read, and the other to be seen. An archive is not an archive if there is no question of accessibility. It is one of the bodies, buried.

An archive is the unity of form and content, a text without an author, an unconscious collaboration between everyone who has ever filed, collated, paginated, annotated, re-categorized, or deleted.

An archive is a necropolis.

An archive is an assertion, not that a particular set of texts somehow provide context to each other or together contain informative value, but that the grouping itself is both informative and sufficient. It is the authority of that which is unavailable to the eye.

An archive, when opened, is no longer an archive.