On the resistance of the archive to interpretation

I've found the Stolen Time article rather interesting, but extremely confusing. I honestly am not quite sure what it is archiving or what I am looking for when I look through it—where, when reading the Blake or Rossetti archives, I was able to start out just with the aim of familiarizing myself with their work, I feel I am missing something fundamental about this archive.

It took me a good two hours to actually figure out how to open the archive—I was wading through authors' notes and editors' notes of all kinds, analysis of the archive as a whole, and other related writings on the website before I even found the link to launch the actual project. I get the overall idea that it is something of a cross between office work, "stolen time" (that is, using the time you are getting paid for to do your own personal business), play, and organization/archiving. To be completely honest, though, I can't really get beyond a very surface level of observation with Stolen Time.

The way the archive mimics an office working environment in many ways is quite interesting to me—the clock in, clock out, the folders, the timestamp in the corner. There's this profound confusion about whether you're really doing anything worthwhile, about whether you're actually working towards something that can be called "work" or just browsing… like one generally does on the internet. It's definitely making work to eke any information out of it, and I look forward to finding out what the class has to say (both in terms of commentary and in terms of how to work it, period!).


I also was confused at first about what I was supposed to be looking at (and it took me a lot of clicking around to realize that the "launch project" button was what I needed), so I spent some time with editor's notes, etc., too. Your mention of the way the archive "mimics an office working environment..." just made me think of something: all of the "projects" in the Vectors journal have an author and a designer. In a project like this one, there isn't much text, so the author's job must have been to organize/categorize the pieces that are in the archive, and then the designer had to deliver this content to us in a way consistent with what the author is trying to say. In the designer's note, Reagan Kelly says, "My work with Alice and with Stolen Time resurrected the connecting bridge between my art that is work, and my art that is play." The "play" of the archive comes out at least as much through its presentation as through its content, which means the designer had to be very much on board with the author in order to convey the right level of play.