a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.
Simply put, an archive refers to any method of storing data which is then accessible at a later date. But what is the fever all about? The concept of archive fever was introduced by Jacques Derrida, author of ‘Archive Fever’, who suggests that archives lay the ground rules as they decide what is “inside” and “outside” a collection of information.
This allows the creators and users of an archive to input, record, preserve and destroy any information and furthermore provides authors of an archive with control on who can or cant access the particular information contained in an archive.
So I thought the following diagram models the theory of archive fever quite well (please excuse my very basic paint skills).
However, it is evident that archives come together through a collusion of memories and experiences which are then documented to become “a collection of historical documents or records.”
It is quite fascinating to think of the multiple archives we come across on a daily basis. We all interact with the world wide web almost everyday, if not every hour. The amount of information archived on the web is countless! A record of almost anything uploaded once upon a time ago can be dug up on the internet. This little fact intrigued me.. what could I find if I actually looked..
I thought it would be interesting to ‘google’ my friends. I entered their full names into the search bar, and the top results provided me with links to LinkedIn profiles, Facebook, MySpace etc. However, I clicked into the ‘images’ tab on the Google menu and there they were… staring back at me were my friends!
Pictures which had been uploaded on social media websites, over five years ago, were being brought up – and that my friends is a how an archive really works. These (cringe worthy) memories and experiences were well and truly being stored on a monumental database; the internet.
I guess what they say is true, some things can never be erased.. especially with archives around!
Derrida, Jacques (1995) ‘Archive Fever—A Freudian Impression’, Diacritics, 25(2), pp9-63.