The Archive is Another Year Older

Day Thirty Three: Monday 1st August 2011

Performance Broadcast

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 16.36.20
Born-Digital Archive Reference Code: IiS_P.B.36_2011-08-01_log-day-33
This file is no longer available due to a resource failure in the archive control procedures of the proprietary live streaming provider for Instability in Stability.*

I started today with a bit of disaster management control. Over the weekend it appears Diana got into a bit of trouble when one of her legs had fallen out of its socket. This made her fall over into the homeward section. As she descended she disturbed all the games and puzzles, scattering many items into the region of the fibre-glass. Luckily Diana is not very heavy and did not make a great impact on the unboarded sections of the floor but she did however manage to make quite a mess, so today’s broadcast started with me tidying-up. Oh Joy!

After getting back to square one I was happily re-capping on the weekend, my birthday excitement, navigating mazes, puzzles and treasure hunts in honour of the challenges set by audience members throughout the broadcasts to date. During our escapades at Hoo Hill Maze we met a man called John who manages the maze and he told us about Masquerade, a massive world wide treasure hunt for a golden rabbit hidden somewhere in England. Eventually the hare was discovered at Ampthill Park (the infamous park where Catherine of Aragon resided in after divorcing Henry VIII in the town next door to Flitwick, my home town). It sparked an interest in me finding out more about the event and read a news article on air: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1208827/Return-golden-hare-It-captivated-Britain–epic-treasure-hunt-beautiful-jewel-buried-cow-field.html
This led me to look back a Puzzle Land in New Zealand, which Rachel suggested I should go to on Thursday evening (Day 31 27th July): http://www.puzzlingworld.co.nz/

Life is a puzzle and the puzzle of the archive is one of the biggest enigmas. When consulting documents what are we after? Some information? facts? knowledge? An insight into the event, person or thing the documents are recorded some essence of? The body of an artist? From desire to get to know someone through the archive, I reflected on the notion of bodies as archives, and how the archive of my body had turned one year older. I explored the documents in the loft, which were assimilated into the archive from the day of my arrival on the planet to the present day. I read back through all of my birth cards and attempted to recognise the names of people who were kind enough to send cards to my parents. It was fascinating to see how many people I knew of and/or continued to play a part in my life. I began comparing these cards to the cards I have saved in a box labelled: Cards and Postcards.

Upon opening the box I discover it is full of cards, postcards, performance programme notes and leaflets, tickets, odd notes, photographs and a couple of medals. I go through the whole contents of the box piecing together the connections between those who have sent me a message and the specific metadata of the items materiality. As yet I have not read messages out on the air but have mentioned names. This is because I have been considering the dilemmas Ria and I discussed in earlier broadcasts about the boundaries and porosity of public and private. Perhaps this is partly to do with my conscience and my insecurities about what these notes may reveal about my past or my personality, and therefore desire to retain some things as private. This may undermine the notion of sharing which my project is predicated on, however, I have come to this decision out of  a respect for the people who have gifted these words and items to me over the years. I have a responsibility to remember they wrote the words for me at a certain time of their lives, and at a certain time in my own. It upholds the integrity of the gift and its intended receiver.

In thinking forward, as more Archive Appointments are booked in for visitors to come and conduct residencies in the loft, I need to consider the wider implications of access to the documents in my archive. One of the challenges set through the project is that if anyone visits the physical space of the loft they should be given full reign to consult any document they so desire. This has triggered a decision to get in contact as many people as possible with whom I have received a gift from and ask permission to share the contents with visitors – if they happen to request/find the corresponding documents. I am not sure how this gesture will be received and I would like to postpone these decisions a little longer until I understand a bit more about the shape, fluidity and accessibility required of the final completed archive. This also gives me a bit more time to appreciate how I can present these findings without being detrimental to my own need for privacy, to my position as owner/keep of the archive, and in maintaining the integrity of the objects, their context and position in the archive as bestowed through the authorship of friends and family who produced those words.

Anyway it was a fun and nostalgic process looking back at some of the birthdays’ of my body’s archive and the people who have been present along the way. Lots of fun memories and touching messages. A big thankyou to everyone who has ever sent me a message, card or letter – I save every one, as Maliwan requested. I save them and then put them on my wall/up in the space of the loft, on the beams and in between boxes. I shall save these and keep them for when I have a wall of my own again.

Challenges that arose from today’s conversations:

Challenge 18:

Anybody who wishes to visit the archive in person should be given full reign to consult any document they desire to, aka there should be no closed files in the archive [created by archive.geek3]

Challenge 19:

Save every card, note and letter you every received and keep them in a safe place ready to put on display and show off [created by Maliwan]

*note added 25th April 2012

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