Archives are everywhere! I didn’t realise how essential they are in my daily life until today. According to Derrida, an Archive is “made from selected and consciously chosen documentation from the past and also from the mad fragmentations that no-one intended to preserve and just ended up there”
So we can see that some archives are constructed purposely. For example my iTunes library (which is missing many album artworks arghhh, first world problems I know!), photo albums (both digital and physical) and even Facebook, the ultimate archive – storing vast amounts of data directly related to people.
Yet, there are also archives which we create unknowingly. Derrida refers to them as “mad fragmentations that no-one intended to preserve.” A good example of this would be my bedroom. At first glance it’s just my bedroom with a collection of my things I hold dear to me. My surfboard, my computer, skateboards, movie posters, dvd’s, books and a lot of junk. But if we look deeper into this, my bedroom is in fact a type of archive. Information about me is stored there and can be accessed at any time. If a total stranger was to look at my bedroom they could probably take a pretty good guess and what type of person I am. My bedroom reflects who I am, my history and my sense of self.
Humans have a constant desire to play with these archives, yet as Derrida suggests, media constructs, yet also destroys archives. An example of this would be the archive system of CD’s. Not long ago, CD’s were used to store all sorts of data – music, computer programs, photographs etc. But now, the CD’s has been systematically destroyed by a number of new archive systems. The internet makes it easier than ever to access music and deliver it straight to your portable archive system – the iPod.
It is really no surprise that Apple and Facebook are now two of the largest companies in the world. The spheres of influence are unmatched. I’m sure that if Jacques Derrida was alive today, he’d be smiling and gently shaking his head saying, “I told you so.”