Thursday, May 06, 2004

The Archive

Ernesto, over at Never Neutral, on Archives.

The entire post is worth a look as are his daily pickings; I was attracted most to the sentiment in the following fragment:

"And I think about what you have taught me: I want to look forward. Forget, in a way, the archive. Even delete it. Where does the past go if its archive is deleted? What comfort do we get from the fact that, say, we can reach our archives in our blogs? What would happen if we were brave -or stupid- enough to delete them all, and only write day by day, only to see what we have written disappear tomorrow? Can we substitute the past with future only? Is there such a thing as only future?"

Dag Snag, then:
Can we delete an archive?

Nevermind the spirit of an event that may always relate to our horizon(s) of possibility--our potentiality:
the way we always reflect in being,
on our state(s) of mind,
between moments of here and now,
looking back from now to then.

Such reflection is either rational--
form of an accountant--
or emotional--
form of romanticist.

But also, it may be abject: becoming
sick to the stomach,
body in pain,
striking out,
putting holes in walls,
talking to your self,
running away, etc. Even ingoring.

Aren't all these attempts-to-delete, to deform the archive, formations for the archive?

Hives on the skin rarely erupt left to their own swollen progress.
Excoriation is required for true release.
She finds herself attacking her own body: a negation; irruption.

And that the urge to forget the archive is an instruction,
a structure he is encouraged to recollect:
What a delightful confession!
We do remember what we have forgotten; forgetting may be necessary to the archive.
Nothing new here: Plato to Priego.

Deleting, however, has the flavor of erasing in totality, which means erasing the erasure in addition to what has been erased. Double negative: Is deletion a creation of a memorable moment or is it throwing the baby out with the bath water?

Anyway we look at it:
This is more than de-historicizing;
more than reverse-engineering...

To delete completely an archive, we must be able to gather all data in a singular datum, see all networks in a singular moment in which the compact archive as datum can be in, and then we still have free radicals: those particular datum that never were networked, maybe never even communicated, not necesarily private, but immanently embued with and in solitude. This is a tricky project. Having once, all at the same time, recovered all association and disassociation, having it all in hand, then we might be able to throw it away. Yet, somebody might remember tossing it all out and screw things up good.

The neurotic one in the corner demanding revision;
an editor, a rewrite.

How do we resist recollection?

In addition: if time is some multi-dimensional recurrence of moments that can be described objectively as "here and now" and again and again and again, infinitely and if this is how we ordinarily express time--count it--then only in ceasing to be--death--can an individual archive delete for an individual. Contemporaneity as an enitity itself makes it incredibly difficult to even consider a temporary refuge from the/any archive. The archive doesn't belong to me, it belongs to us.

I just don't see the archive deleted.

"We shall never forget." Important that folks don't say, "We can not ever forget." It may be true that we cannot forget. But:

Not a statement about the archive, or the possibility for forgetting, as much as it is an ethical demand.
Not "I have no choice but to remember," rather "I must know."

Must knowing is a step towards deletion; quite possibly may be as far as we can get.

"And I think about what you have taught me: I want to look forward. Forget, in a way, the archive. Even delete it." Is one demand for knowledge in its negation of self, the negation the concept itself.

Looking forward equated to forgetting,
possibly deleting, the archive
(of a relationship gone sour; a lost friendship; maybe a simple coincidental incident?):

[Dante's Beatrice in La Vita Nuova before the fall or as he falls]

These qualities of "looking forward" are actually signs of living grounded in the present.
As such, always archived moments of now repeating.
And as such, deletion is not only impossible but so is archiving.
Like Hegel's concept of spirit and time as a negation of a negation.

I don't know.

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