It is fascinating to think that archiving began as a an almost elitist and authoritarian process, that is looking at it from today’s perspective, where the Internet has given the impression that everything should be free including being able to publish personal material. Matthew Ogle’s explained in ‘Archive Fever,’ “how long it took to adjust to life without the warm twitchy blanket of what’s called ‘the real-time web.'” Matthew Ogle’s article also highlights the “early 90s, philosopher Jacques Derrida, who made a useful observation on technology’s relationship to human memory and conceptions of ‘the archive.'” Derrida wrote that “the technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content,” while it also creates precise records of certain events. I noted on BBC2’s production of Stephen Fry’s Planet World that the documentary made an interesting point on language and how peoples emotions and attitudes vary depending on the different dialects they use. This in a sense is similar to Derrida’s argument about how different ways of storing information can influence the structure and the content produced.
Though Derrida explains how, we must have a “nostalgic desire for the archive,” Ogle makes the point that “the real-time web also captures something we might not have created otherwise,” writing how, “we’ve all become accidental archivists; our burgeoning digital archives open out of the future.” A personal example I can link to this would be the Vietnam war, in which for the first time, journalists had the technology and permission to report on the destruction with no bias or hidden agenda. This was the first case in history really, where people, (particularly American citizens,) protested against their own government to stop a war. This was all thanks to the exposure and documentation of the utter destruction it was causing by the media. In the same way, the recent Libyan conflict has been widely documented an archived thanks to the mass amount of technology including camera phones and widespread access to the internet.
This photo seems quite relevant for this topic..
Julie Enszner writes in ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression by Jacques Derrida’, that “the nature of an archive is to be both authoritarianly transparent and authoritatively concealed.” Ironically, while the elitist mode that publishing and archiving began at once was used to enhance power and authority, the access to a wide variety of publishing platforms, (thanks to the internet,) has given this power and authority back to the people. This can be seen in internet platforms such as ‘Wikileaks’ where information has been archived on a public platform in order to expose wrong doings in the world that may have been swept under the rug otherwise. Ultimately Enszner writes how Derrida once stated, “It is a question of the future, the question of the future itself, the question of a response, of a promise and of a responsibility for tomorrow. The archive: if we want to know what that will have meant, we will only know in times to come”