If archival art differs from database art, it is also distinct from art focused on the museum. Certainly the figure of the artist-as-archivist follows that of the artist as-curator, and some archival artists continue to play on the category of the collection. Yet they are not as concerned with critiques of representational totality and institutional integrity: that the museum has been ruined as a coherent system in a public sphere is generally assumed, not triumphally proclaimed or melancholically pondered, and some of these artists suggest other kinds of ordering-within the museum and without.
In this respect the orientation of archival art is often more “institutive” than “destructive,” more “legislative” than “transgressive.” (Jacques Derrida uses the first pair of terms to describe opposed drives at work in the concept of the archive in Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression,). Finally, the work in question is archival since it not only draws on informal archives but produces them as well, and does so in a way that underscores the nature of all archival materials as found yet constructed, factual yet fictive, public yet private. Further, it often arranges these materials according to a quasi-archival logic, a matrix of citation and juxtaposition, and presents them in a quasi-archival architecture, a complex of texts and objects (again, platforms, stations, kiosks . . . ).
Ref: An Archival Impulse Author(s): Hal Foster Source: October, Vol. 110 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 3-22