Omelettes in the stack: archival fragility and the aforeafter

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    In Beckett’s novel, the eponymous Molloy suffers in equal measure an inability to remember and a failure to forget. He is a cipher for the archive and all its discontents. As a way of thinking through archival discontent, this article introduces two new expressions into archival discourse: Aforeafter, to describe the condition of archival temporality and the archival tense (that which is over and goes on), and archival fragility, to name the discomfort of archivists confronted with proximate damages of their professional practice. As part of the conversations about and ongoing reassessments of archival power and function, I offer the aforeafter as an instrument in resituating the archive as sociocultural form and archival fragility as a means to help identify catalyzing moments where archivists can choose between hubris or humility in their working approaches to codified archival practices. The article proposes that disruption to archival language is necessary to support both progressive shifts in archival practice and theoretical moves to deterritorialize normative-destructive archives.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)44-67
    Number of pages25
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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