‘Might we have left some faint, enduring mark on the universe; some lasting glow or echo of Earthly humanity; some interplanetary sign that once we were here?’
Alan Weisman. The World Without Us. (Toronto: Harper Collins, 2007)
Thinking of the archives in a new digital or technological key must go beyond the application of digitality to conventional archives and engage with circuits of critical complexity involving contemporary material ecologies and stories. If one of the imperatives of archiving is to capture what is fleeting, then surely contemporary light-speed technological changes, coupled with the unprecedentedly rapid planetary changes create specific new forms of what Derrida called mal d’archive (“archive fever”). What contemporary digital and technological engagements with the archive thus far offer is a productive disturbance of the taken-for-granted material substrates upon which archives have been based; an explicit engagement with these shifting materialities creates an opening for thinking about ecological materiality as conditioning archives (in more profound ways than the climate control of built archives as repositories). Yet there exists a competing tendency to conceive of digital archives in increasingly de-materialized terms. “Cloud” computing — a nebulous seemingly-immaterial metaphorical rendering of networked (archival) mega data centres that rely on mined resources and proximity to hydro-electric dams, not to mention proliferating disposable prosthetic devices for end-users — is one such mechanism through which certain vital forms of materiality are distanced from the end-user/archivist. Archiving eco-cultural morphology situates an agenda within and against technological engagements with the archive for considering how larger-than-human ecologies and cultural stories entwine to produce contemporary forms of archive fever as an encounter with trauma.
Source: Anita Girvan: Archiving Eco-cultural Morphology In:
(accessed 02-05-2015) http://ctheoryarchive.net/wii-2-r-ephemera-archiving-eco-cultural-morphology/