Stolen Time Archive

Lost and Out-of-Place

Navigating my way through different aspects of the Stolen Time archive further inforced that my previous understanding of what archives were or could be was severely limited. The archive felt like a maze in which I was lost in; each turn I took only brought me more confusion and disorientation. Rather than feeling more connected with the past through the content I found I felt the feeling of separation and distinction from the past which Foucault descibed at the end of the section we read from The Statement and the Archive. "It establish[ed] that we are difference" by revealing how differently our society today reasons and argues about issues (Foucault, 131). Of course there are bridges that connect the present with the history of the past, but through the Stolen Time archive I mostly felt disassociation and disconnection because the content which I interacted with was very foreign to me. While it did serve to partially fill gaps in my historical knowledge it also reminded me of how different our world is today from the world of bygone generations.

archiving myself in the archive

One of the most interesting elements of this archive to me was the final page after a participant "clocks out," where he can see visual representations of everything he did while "clocked in." The Photocopied Collage shows snippets of images he interacted with. In a way it organizes everything that the participant looked at (was interested in) in one place for easier review of the overall experience. However, because it crops down the photos to thumbnails, there is obviously some suppression/bias going on. I couldn't find any correlation between the way I interacted with a photo and which part of it ended up in the collage; the creators of the archive must have made some arbitrary decisions as to which pieces of the photos are most representative of them on a smaller scale.

The perhaps more fascinating element, however, was the Movement Map. I think this very clearly embodies what we have talked about where it is difficult to be aware of an archive when one is inside it. Of course I knew I was looking at an archive, but I saw it as an objective thing that I was just looking at. When I found out that the archive had actually been recording (archiving!) my interaction with it, I became aware that I was inside--it was subjective. I surprised myself a bit when I first recognized that my mouse movements were being recorded: I began intentionally "drawing" designs and clicking randomly to find out what coordinates I was at. But my intentional designs were a lot sloppier and forced looking than the natural arcs that had been created when my finger flew rapidly from one link to the next. The way I moved through the archive (as I found the second time I clocked in) changed slightly when I knew I was being "watched." The sneakiness of the designers here could certainly fall into the category of play.

Stolen Time

I'd missed the author's statement when I first approached The Stolen Time Archive, but I did read through the editors' comments, so was approaching it from that angle. The bit that I was focussing on in this regard was the idea of the work providing an emerging argument, as McPherson and Anderson explain:

it offers a powerful argument about the archive and exposes archival logics as always inherently ideological. Importantly, the piece enacts its argument, requiring its user to explore this virtual archive in order to access the argument constructed there via the user's own navigations. The argument is emergent, unfolding as the user becomes more and more immersed in the piece itself ... The project's 'design' or 'form' is not separable from the 'content' or 'argument' it makes

I'd be interested to see in class what people found this argument to be. As the reader must do some work in putting the ideas of the archive together, I imagine that our subjective readings (particularly as they are dependent on whether we view all of the documents, or pick certain ones, and the order in which we view them) could be somewhat different. I liked what Karen said in her post about the feeling of being implicated in the act of archiving, and the panopticist feelings that invokes. I'm not sure I had quite the same impression, but I definitely felt as though I was being included in the message that Grambrell was putting across--by participating in the opening and closing of files in the archive, the reader seems to be both archivist and researcher.


The Stolen Time Archive

The Stolen Time Archive reminds me of Patchwork Girl except I think it's pretty clear that this is more sophisticated technology. The major difference, I think, is that I feel like, as a user, I am being assessed. Not only am I being timed, which makes me feel like my data is being reported somewhere, but the fact that I have to practice drawing a symbol to which the author has attached an odd meaning makes me think my drawing will be quickly assessed and that may change my pathway through the archive. This may be my constant feeling that I may be in 24 at all times, but I am curious what kind of information is being directed at me and for what reason. For the first time (for me at least), user performance dictates the kind of information available to the consumer.

The content is bizarre. I mean, for one thing, it's a computer showing the user pages ripped from a magazine that discuss an print as an ancestor of the computer (perhaps the form of this program coupled with that content may suggest a family tree of sorts). For example, I currently have a page up that is titled "An analysis of the tools you use and the way you are using them will often lead to discovering what is retarding your progress". This page has handwritten notes on it (in blue ink I may add). The page discusses how to write shorthand properly, and it details how the proper tools like a pen and paper can affect one's writing form. These notes on the page however are scribbled, hurried, disorderly (like my drawing was when I opened the program). The fact that this is on a computer begs the question if writing itself is the tool that is retarding progress. Perhaps the computer solves this problem, or perhaps it doesn't, perhaps computers only retard our handwriting skills. Is the information the magazine is providing falling on deaf ears? Perhaps, as is seen in the sloppy handwriting. But, also, it makes one question if the form (not only the cleanliness of handwriting but also typed letters or handwritten ones) affect one's reception of information.

Even this communicatioin is submitted through a style very similar to Blast. I wish I could show you or at least explain how I got here but I don't really know, but there's a strange drawing of scribbles above which is "The next place to hunt for lost motion is between outlines themselves [someone underlined that]. The following illustration gives some idea of how time may be wasted in making useless movements in the air. Are you addicted to flourishes?" and under which reads "The subordinate is convinced that the decision is unjust. During the foremoon, the furnace fire went out." The article seems to be hinting at some kind of vice in wastful addiction, which leads to nowhere. There's still this kind of belief in progress in this article I guess, but the magazine article is kind of a dead medium. I don't know, after taking two digital classes this semester, if I believe that print alone can produce progress at all. The text alone needs to be manipulated by being run through a program, discussed, hyperlinked, etc. to truly get somewhere, otherwise it's a one-way communication (which is one way I think Patchwork Girl may be less successful than this Archive). Any ideas?