Wk. 15 (8 of 8) : The complicated and multifaceted nature of the archive and its relevance to time

The combination of this week's readings, and today's class discussion, greatly expanded my notion of what the archive is and what it contains. I had always thought of an archive as a historical repository of historical memories, depicted through: art, books, poems, personal portraits, personal items, etc. that were from the past. Today, I found out that there are traditional archives like that, but also, unconventional archives that do not deal with artifacts of the past. For instance, social media is a type of archive, even though it doesn't house historical objects, it is a system that houses information that can be accessed by others for viewing. This made me think about the influence of time and the archive. How does time influence the relevance of certain kinds of archives and their respective receptions? How relevant is a historical archive about the history of papyrus paper relevant to a 21st-century culture that is obsessed with technology? Why do we still need to know about paper? To me, the very presence of these historical archives answers that question in a positive sense, to borrow from Foucault's "The positivity of a discourse (pg. 126), the fact that historical archives still exist despite our ever-increasing digitization of culture, speaks to its importance and relevance. Without these archives, how would we physically experience times of the past that have shaped the culture and society that we currently find ourselves in? I see a totality within the archive that contributes to the present. To move forward, we have to know how we started, where we come from, and the origins of events. The archive serves this monumental function of educating us about this information. 

My next question is: based on the regulation and repression of certain archives and their containments, like books on sexual orientations that Mikala mentioned today, affect how we see and think of the archive? How do we fill in the gaps (what Foucault calls "the aporia" ) of this missing or as is the case today in many instances, the erased history? Even though archives are categorized by their specific containments, there is a totality of the way in which the function of all archives is, on some level, to house memory, information, documents, objects, etc. in a preserved fashion. I am interested to see how the notion of the archive will change as our relationship with technology changes. Could Instagram be the next new archive of social media data and information in the next 20 years? Only time will tell. 



I just wanted to add that I mentioned an archive on Papyrus to show the differences between the possible containments of more traditional archives to modern archives. I don't know if that exists, but I wanted to make my distinction between traditional, historical archives and more modern unconventional archives like social media, clear.