Archives. As humans they’re basically the greatest thing we could have. We can circumvent our own sometimes faulty memories to store bounds of information and histories. We desire a system that is flawless and cannot let us down, like our brains sometimes do. Maybe that’s why I leave post it notes everywhere like some kind of amnesiac.
As a film fan, one of my favourite websites is the Internet Movie Database. Owned by Amazon, the IMDB is the most powerful tool for basically objective movie knowledge. There are forums and other ‘sub archives’ containing opinions but ultimately I feel like it’s a shining beacon of the factual. Any individual movie page contains things like genre, parental guidance rating, duration, who’s in the movie or whatever stuff like that. I don’t know about other people but I feel like it’s definitely a joy to scroll on through the database, learning facts you never knew and so on. I guess that’s a kind of archive fever, the desire to scrawl and learn whatever knowledge you choose.
The technology of individual sites or archival systems controls how we access the content and thus understand it according to Jacques Derrida’s Archive Theory. In the case of IMDB a site contributed to by external authorities it’s pretty straight forward, the data is arranged on the page from the most important facts that people would want to know about movies at the top, down to trivia, soundtrack details and extra stuff left at the bottom. A site like Facebook or Twitter however relies on its content from mostly personal sources. These sites are all about archiving our personal histories, in fact trawl through Facebook usingthe recently added timeline feature and you’ll find that you have a complete picture of yours or someone else’s life over the past however many years they’ve had facebook.
In this way, everyone on social media has Archive Fever, we’re obsessed with storing and accumulating data and an identity for ourselves using mechanisms in the digital space. I think in the short term it’s a great way of getting a sense of who we are. Long term, who knows though? IS too much of us published?