|Christian Boltanski heartbeat collection exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris [III]|
1) The archive is about seeking after origins (arche- origin-e.g. archaeology) as, in Freudian terms, we can understand it has something of the ‘death drive’ about it- seeking that prime point from which ‘x’ came, in order to return to a stasis- hence the compulsion to repeat or in some collectors terms- the compulsion to complete.
2) Archive has something of a control- a ‘call to order’ and ordering or ‘bringing into discursive articulation’ about it. This connects with the philosopher Michel Foucault’s notion of the archive as the arch-originating ‘system’, the ‘order’ of knowledge and discourse of knowledge which Foucault sees a defining different historical ‘eras’; that which enables the conceptualization of the ‘era’ as such.
Art as document
Hal Foster argues that art functions as a document in an archive. In an essay in his Design and Crime he refers to the archive as Michel Foucault has it as ‘the system that governs the appearance of statements’ and more specifically Foster refers to the archival relations of modern art practice, the art museum and art history and “the ‘memory-structure’ that these three systems produced through a kind of encountering of opposites or dialectics of seeing.” [Quotation modified] [See Foster’s Archives of Modern Art 65-82].