Published: Nov. 5, 2012


During his lecture, Auguiste outlined numerous ways of thinking about the archive: an as object of critical inquiry; as the embodiment of historical events; as the formation of discourses; as epistemological foundation of the archive as repository for memory; and, as a negotiation between institutional power and agency. His particular vision of the archive is focused on an experience of (time through) the archive. Working from Bergson, Auguiste breaks the Western stronghold on the duality between perception and memory, feeling rather that each is embedded in the other, and making matter out of perception itself.

In asking why we archive, I believe Auguiste is also asking a question about the politics of preservation, ownership (over the past) and (future) access. Why do we hang on to the past? Is it a matter of nostalgia? Is it informed by a fetishism of the archival object itself? Is it out of a fear of forgetting? Or is the archive a monument to memory in and of itself? Are there ethics to the archive? How can its materials be used, reused, re-contextualize, or remixed? Are there limits to its ethical communication? Or, is (and should) the archive be completely open for any possible reconfiguration of the past it stakes a claim to? We are complicit in making the archive unstable — it is not inherently so — human agency and interaction destabilize it. Performing the archive therefore brings in all of these issue as it pulls the person (and personal) back into the equation.

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