The Sublime Nature of the Archive and a Mayan Sensibility Towards Documentation

Day Twenty Six: Thursday 21st July

Performance Broadcast

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Born-Digital Reference Code: IiS_P.B.29_2011-07-21_log-day-26
This video is no longer available due to a resource failure in the archive control procedures of the proprietary live streaming provider for Instability in Stability. You can gain an alternative perspective on today’s performance via the Archive Appointment documentation situated below.*

Today begun by drawing up the inventory for Box Number Three: D.V. Tapes. I constructed a list of all the materials in the D.V. Tape box and in doing I was making decisions about what was the necessary information for inclusion in the inventory and what could be interesting to included, and what should be filtered out. This led to me contemplating standard modes of inventorying objects which have a tendency to be list like, providing a basic set of data for a catalogue which focuses on the material, dimensional and historical components of the object. As this is a personal and artistic archive these aspects are only one contributing aspect of value for which I wish these items hold within the archive. The way the performances have thus far tapped into people’s memories and sharing of experiences it seems important that the catalogue offers a perspective on these ideas whilst experimenting with the potential under-representation/mis-representation and gaps that will inevitably occur when I attempt to translate these thoughts on to the page.

As I try to write these ideas down in a logical manner I enter in a detailed recollection of when each D.V.Tape was recorded; giving random tangential explanations of the people in the footage and the places I  have lived/visited through the recordings. For example, musings on the band Something Pretty, my past experience of being a choreographer, and the modules I completed at the University of Chichester, Bognor Beach, midnight walks, and working with Elliot Caplan and Lila Dance.

The beach discussion inspired a sense of the sublime and I began a long ramble about the sublime nature of the archive with its overwhleming but awe-inspiring capacities. From here I was triggered to read an essay I wrote for a second year university assignment entitled: A Critical Examination into the Correlation between the Gothic and Postmodern genres, drawing upon the parallels presented in Allan Lloyd Smith’s Essay Postmodernism/Gothicism. The writing was exemplified by Piranesi’s series of etchings Carceri , and Ruth Brown’s book A Dark Dark Tale and thoughts examined the metanarratives of the environments we encounter which equally challenge and inspire us. There was some interesting correlations between he essay and the performance broadcasts.

Tonight’s broadcast was injected with messages from Ria who specifically questioned what the point of keeping all this material is when you know it has a time limit for existing and of holding one set of values. This question and debate was spawned out of a concern for whether I should preserve the footage on the D.V. tapes (which I was showing through out the broadcast) in a more accessible format and to constantly migrate it in the future so I can continue to utilise its content as an artistic, research and memory-inducing tool.

In a Skype conversation to conclude the broadcast, and to check in on the progress of her Myself Archive project, I spoke to Ria about the idea of time capsules, the experience of watching/reading a document in its original format, the Mayan process of archiving their daily lives, their rigorous logging and documentary acts, and the passing on of knowledge through generations. In the final 10 minutes we looked back at Ria’s work and the systems she is using to pass on the knowledge and experience she has embedded in her archive. This provokes me to question Ria about the Dublin Core meta data system she is implementing to capture the data of her objects, followed by an incite into the Mecca site and QR coding.

The lingering philosophical/conceptual question for the evening: once we have archived an item should it be kept in the archive in the same manner, with the same integrity and function as the day it was accession in the archive, never to be used again? Or, if an artist finds a need to re-use the item or present it in new contexts, can we just take it from the archive to use as we wish? or do we have to source a replacement in order to to use he object/document as we desire? Or, may artists should strive to only live off of what is in their archives constantly exposing the archive to the follies of re-use and entropy?

Archive Appointments

Born-Digital Archive Reference Code: IiS_A.A.27_2011-07-21_20.44_Ria_Hartley_log-day-26

*note added 25th April 2012

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