postmodernism

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.

Stolen Time

I was really confused and overwhelmed by The Stolen Time Archive. It seems to me that the only way a person can truly understand it and get everything out of it would be to spend hours sorting through its information and pictures. I did, however, come away from it with a better understanding of what archives can be and how they can fit in with the concept of postmodernism. The Stolen Time Archive was definitely a more postmodern look at archives. I got that feeling even before I "clocked in," when I was reading the poetry at the beginning of the project. At first, the project is difficult to navigate because you have no idea what's going on, which forces the user to be patient and meticulous. This was obviously done with intent. Minimum wage jobs do require patience, and they can seem pointless and grating at times. I feel like the very setup of the archive is emulating that in a way.

The archive is also very random. You make the decisions by clicking on whatever interests you. It is not a linear experience, but rather one built upon whatever you choose, which creates seemingly random results as well. The archive may require several playthroughs to really understand what the general message even is, which put me off a bit. I wonder if the experience would have been more rewarding if I'd had more time. It's also funny to me that the archive is named "Stolen Time," and that's basically what it does if you get too wrapped up in it. It almost seemed never-ending to me.

Steal This Archive

The Stolen Time Archive is just this really weird thing. But that's not bad. I like it. The most obvious way it matches up with our discussions is the way in which, as an archive, it rewards inquiry. You get out of it what you put into it. The designer and author notes on the website speak truly when they call its effect "emergent". Its peculiar style gives no obvious direction, even though the "clock in" and "clock out" buttons, as well as the tracing at the beginning, give the impression of there being an overarching mission with tasks to check off on it. It was also self-referential, and frighteningly self-aware--it was presented as though it knew it was being looked at. And call me crazy, but those android flyers draw attention to the issue of technology and how it relates to the human endeavor--or what we regard as a "human" endeavor--of exploring the world and organizing our knowledge.

I've mentioned in class that I can have serious issues with information overload if I'm not careful. (We've also referred to this as a sort of archive fever.) That was definitely happening to me in The Stolen Archive. I tried, therefore, to limit my search and pretend some sections didn't exist. I undoubtedly missed a great deal, so I look forward to hearing others' experiences with the archive. But this hyper-focus I used gave me an unexpected insight.

I titled this post the way I did because I believe this archive intends for us to focus in on whatever catches our interest within it and whatever we decide is our "mission". Everybody digs in and plunders it differently. Everybody hijacks The Stolen Archive and uses it for their own purposes. So if you look at the title and think, huh, why is it called that--The Stolen Archive? Who stole it?

Well, that's easy. You did.