September 5, 2008
File Under Fleeting
Archives are more ephemeral than they seem
We are the archive, and we are perishable. The subject's fascination depends on that paradoxical conjunction.
Archives have always had an aura of neutrality and coolness that masks the heat behind the data they record: births, marriages, crimes, wars, business dealings, genocides, deaths — falling, like the snow in the James Joyce novella, "upon all the living and the dead." Long thought of as the musty haunts of scholars