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Archives

March 27, 2012

An archive is any form of data that is stored away to be used in the future. They are the basis of individual and collective memories and experiences. A fundamental principle of an archive is their provenance. Meaning who created the data, where did it come from, and how reliable is this information.

In order to understand the structure of an archive, the lecture’s example of a sea sponge can be used. Firstly the sponge itself acts as the archive and allows for data (and other recordings) to be stored away inside. Secondly, when the sponge is squeezed, you hear the recording. This acts as a form of content and expression. Finally, the last aspect of the sea sponge/archive is concerned with its distribution in that is found everywhere. The combination of these aspects or assemblages come together to create a mode of publishing.

The concept of an archive is primarily concerned with the preservation of data and information. As Jacques Derrida states in his work ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression’, “the archivist produces more archive, and that is why the archive is never closed. It opens out of the future.” Derrida shows that nowadays we are seeing new forms of archiving, especially in the self-archiving form. Thanks to the power of the real-time web, society is now able to archive their information through various online applications. The use of social networking sites such as Twitter acts as a constant and permanent online archive. In Matthew Ogle’s post he poses the question “What were you thinking about on November 23rd 2009? You probably have no idea but Twitter might.” The question infers to the growth of such online archives and how our own recollection of memories are becoming outsourced to these types of archives. Yet it us, the users, who are recording the information and ultimately catching and spreading the fever by grounding things we create in both the present and the past.

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