Archive Fevers

February 6, 2009

My archive fever, your archive fever: why archive fever?

Filed under: Uncategorized — gselmer @ 18:22

I’ve been sorely tempted to blog on many occasions in the past and, for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, I’ve always held back from doing so. However, this time, I have given into whatever it is that seems to make the idea of blogging so compelling, and here I am (wherever here may be).

One thing that I intend – more than anything else perhaps, above all other things – is for this blog to be a ‘research tool’. I am – and have been for some years now – fascinated by Jacques Derrida’s statement in Archive Fever that ‘the technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable contents even as it comes into existence and its relationship to the future’ – that the archive ‘produces, as much as it records, the event’ – or, as J. Hillis Miller has more recently put it, in a neat reappropriation of Marshall McLuhan, ‘the medium is the maker‘. My research has been pursuing this question in a variety ways and I’m curious to see the effect that this blog has on that research – I certainly don’t imagine that it will merely be a passive receptacle or a passing record, but a tool that actively shapes my thought, my writing and my research. Who knows, maybe it will change it irrevocably in ways I can’t predict? I’d like that.

I’m interested in – obsessed with – issues to do with: the future of the book and print media in general, the rise of electronic media technologies and, by direct extension, the future of ‘literature’ itself and of the university, the consignation, configuration and dissemination of knowledge and of the ‘archive’ in general.

My off-the-cuff answer as to why is that the rise of electronic, so-called ‘multi-media’ (I’d argue that paper is perhaps more ‘multi-media’ than we might often think) is a historico-technological change that we are in the process of living through, and I’m interested in trying to understand and narrate that process ‘from the inside’.

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