How the archive evolved to include new technologies, practices, and media, and how it became the apparatus through which we map the everyday.
In Archive Everything, Gabriella Giannachi traces the evolution of the archive into the apparatus through which we map the everyday. The archive, traditionally a body of documents or a site for the preservation of documents, changed over the centuries to encompass, often concurrently, a broad but interrelated number of practices not traditionally considered as archival. Archives now consist of not only documents and sites but also artworks, installations, museums, social media platforms, and mediated and mixed reality environments. Giannachi tracks the evolution of these diverse archival practices across the centuries.
Archives today offer a multiplicity of viewing platforms to replay the past, capture the present, and map our presence. Giannachi uses archaeological practices to explore all the layers of the archive, analyzing Lynn Hershman Leeson’s !Women Art Revolution project, a digital archive of feminist artists. She considers the archive as a memory laboratory, with case studies that include visitors’ encounters with archival materials in the Jewish Museum in Berlin. She discusses the importance of participatory archiving, examining the “multimedia roadshow” Digital Diaspora Family Reunion as an example. She explores the use of the archive in works that express the relationship between ourselves and our environment, citing Andy Warhol and Ant Farm, among others. And she looks at the transmission of the archive through the body in performance, bioart, and database artworks, closing with a detailed analysis of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Infinity Engine.