10 large yellow envelopes delivered to 10 addresses on Lambert Way, N12
10 small brown envelopes delivered to 10 addresses on Darnley Road, E8
This envelope was used to record the house numbers delivered to. Eager to send the envelopes as quickly as possible the index was created using stickers from my diary, each envelope delivered identified by a different sticker.
Deborah: I was a bit slow on the uptake, and only sent my envelopes last week. I decided to go for streets with a post box on them, Mavern Road E8, and Middleton Road also E8.
I thought houses located directly next to a post box might be encouraged participate. I was brave enough to go through closed gates; it must be my upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness!
Alice L: Just wanted to add a link to some artists’ projects that explore the archival to add to thinking about how we might ‘work’ with the material collected.
In his article ‘An Archival Impulse’ Hal Foster outlines some interesting approaches to archives by artists that could inform our thoughts on selection processes:
In the first instance archival artists seek to make historical information often lost or displaced, physically present. To this end they elaborate on the found image, object, and text, and favour the installation format as they do so. (Frequently they use its non-hierarchical spatiality to advantage...)... These sources are familiar, drawn from the archives of mass culture, to ensure a legibility that can be disturbed or detourne; but they can also be obscure, retrieved in a gesture of alternative knowledge or counter-memory.
There is also a strong resonance with our use of the post box to engage the thoughts and creativity of a random selection of people. Is it our hope that what we do with our ‘found’ or ‘retrieved’ objects will
The temporality of the document appears to carry some residue of the past into the future: a passageway in and across time. If so, the document would serve not only as a space of arrival but equally as a point of departure. Is it not therefore always haunted by the passing of time, or by its own passage from time to another? That which has produced the trace passes. It becomes the past. Leaving a mark which represents, although it is not the same as a trace. Marks are the evidence of this passage, and a trace of the past. The document therefore carries forward not evidence of the past so much as that something has passed, and it shows us something that even the past may not have recognised till now, too late. There is a sense of a deferred temporality, a strange suspension of time that within the present is an uncovering not so much of revelation of an originating event or cause as that of recognition.
Paulina: I would like to think of our archiving practices as fragmentary traces. By documenting only certain aspects of intent, only certain items and exchanges and exploring the ways in which we
Charles Merewether, ‘A Language to Come: Japanese Photography after the Event’, 2002.
create new knowledge, in some way disrupt a normal procedure?
Blanche: I often find the idea of archiving a difficult one as it suggests that everything can be easily categorised and fit neatly into ‘boxes’, without any room for the murky interstitial spaces we’ve been discussing, whose very nature is not so tangible. The archive as a thing itself also seems to have a completeness, to be all encompassing, and I find this very interesting in relation to the work we are doing with the PO Box and relating to interstitial space, as the circulatory nature of the former and the indeterminateness of the latter seem to contradict this. That’s not to say I don’t think we should archive things (and we’ve already been doing this on googlewave and the website), just that perhaps this contradiction is something we could consider when archiving. Could we think of the archive itself as being located in an interstitial point in time, as a ‘trace’ of events past but not present:
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