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Themesicon: navigation pathMapping and Texticon: navigation pathArchive/Map
The File Room (Muntadas, Antoni), 1994The Naturalist Gathers; Installation/Index (Blau, Douglas), 1992

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question of how these Modern and then Postmodern experiences inscribed themselves on the history of archives and encyclopaedic concepts in the 20th century.

Conditions of knowledge

«The technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content in the very way it is created and in its relation to the future.» [8] Here the technical structure relates both to the actual recording system and to decisions made by the «árchontes,» i.e., the gatekeepers. We must still ask with Vilém Flusser and Marshall McLuhan whether the isolating archive, thinking in terms of typifying and standardizing, has not now long been replaced by a «grainy» electromagnetic culture that withdraws from this arrangement into discrete elements? [9]

Artistic strategies for revealing the archive's powers of definition start here. For example, Antoni Muntadas, in his collaborative Internet project «The File Room» (1994), responds to the connection between exclusion and (art-)political censorship by collecting cases of censorship from all over the world via the Internet and


making them available to anyone as a collection of documents there. What emerges here, in a particular field, is a counter-archive to postulated official writing of history.

The «Order of Things» (Michel Foucault) as a categorical and indexical problem, with its infinite seriality of digits, can be cited only as concept work (as in On Kawara's work for Documenta XI, for example), or as an alternative to accumulating marginal, unassuming things and events. Peter Piller collects newspaper photographs and arranges them in series like «Car touching,» «Thumbs up» or other surprising motifs from pictorial history, but they have lost their link with a newspaper item, a report about a real event or a real place. It is difficult, or even impossible, to devise a conceptual approach to reality in different media, something we increasingly see attempted in contemporary artistic production. But this is evidence that the archive's categorial topography continues to be relevant, whether in an art collection, a database or a catalogue. Douglas Blau provides an example relating to the topos of the index with his «Index from ‹The Naturalist Gathers›» (1992-97). [10] This text was

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