There are many ways to think about archives. This DIY Archive Kit puts together some of the ways in which MDA has approached archiving, together with collaborators and partners whom we have worked with along the way.
Put it simply, an archive is an organised collection of things that tells a story, and is shared with the others.
All kinds of things, or artefacts in archive-speak, can form as objects within an archive. From documents, photographs, video or audio clips, clothes, tattoos, scars, or even pelesit in a bottle, as was seen in a 2002 exhibition by Museum Negara.
The world of archives is incredibly diverse with collections tackling the impact of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, preserving the source code of retro video games, cooking recipes from medieval Europe, the songs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, history of rickshaw pullers, or even ice cream wrappers.
You are probably already an archivist of some sort. Maybe you are the one who takes care of all of your family photos, or have a collection postcards from places you have never been.
- What is your archive?
- What kinds of objects/“things” are the sites of this collection of memory?
- Why is this particular collection of things important to you?
- How might it be important to other people as well?
DIY ARCHIVE KIT
What does or doesn’t count as an archive?
What are the politics of memory?
What structures of power and knowledge are embedded in the work of arranging and categorisation?
Who has access to your archive? How would you like others to interact with your archive?
List of resources and further readings.