There is an antique shop in a cellar between the Viennese Rathaus and Neues Institutgebauede which I used to drop by quite often. As any old scummed antique shop it represents an order of retired material for curiosity, observation and ownership.
Among numerous Alexandre Dumas’, 1980s Vienna city guides, mediocrely interesting massive gallery papers, some pearls of scientific discoveries, and playboys with abused covers this ocean of information is a fascinating attraction. We seek for digging an interesting artefact, a piece of knowledge that has significance, our own archaeology of human soul and brain. These dusty cellars full of pathological information for our course of affairs serve as a fill-up for spaces that were not supposed to be missed or as an inspiration for an artist long lost and found again in a carnivore virtuality of his extendible imagination. An archive of the unsolicited.
The son of the owner of the shop comes up to me, speaks in Swabian German with a cigarette between his lips, guiding on his youth as I bend to the covert shelf with old magazines where playboys from the years 1986,1987 and 1988 were hidden. “looks great, doesn’t it? I collected them when I was young but grew out of it (pervert laugh). Two euros for each, altogether ten.”
I skim through the almost velvet papered playboy.
an article on political affairs broken down by a slinky beautiful bright Marlboro commercial, followed by economics special finished with an erotic story and a rigorously tasteful nude poster
a Volvo commercial with a narrative full of eroticism and a whiskey one shimmering in an extra elegant way
a quality print to celebrate a male-dominated economy, a product of immense art direction
each sentence confronts the reader with sugar-coated sarcasm, vocabulary coming from the purest pages of thesaurus
a mass of outdated information, reflecting on the pleasure wounds society is not paying tribute to but rather recovers from - an archive of historical magazines, coming out of print soon by
a grin and pity appears as we grasp the message of what has fed our grandfathers heads, while we are also fascinated by the do's of the language and quality it was got across with
a grin, a pity and fascination
a metal stand with almost unscrewed holders representing sections with books on philosophy, history, marine mysticism, detective stories, a kid’s book and a science-fiction - not twist-friendly
literature on scientific discoveries pops up and the disclosure of bombs of human reproduction, the glory of birth control, ease of telecommunications, portability of nearly everything, when everything by then meant phone and cassette player - the moment the world is changing, fixed in the sentences in real-time
The fascination and joy give way to sincerity, a glorious moment for the despair of the contemporary.
a book on horrors of world war one printed in 1935
a book on sexuality impulses and peaks, the libido graphs, the interest in the female body for its good paraphrased for the scientific journal, full of tedious experiments for the sake of technology
The epistemological link is destroyed, while another ethical paradox is reborn to live for a second, once again.
the historian that was an author to that
a professor that concluded the research and experiments
those who chose this to go to print
the people that worked to condemn the archive of knowledge that made it to the private collection but was unlucky to not become immortal in the walls of a public library
This material documents the state of affairs, the everyday business of doing things, which we unintentionally focus on rather than necessarily contains significant knowledge; Generally, this feeling of literary liturgy of past existence through book covers, artefacts, sentences and phrases are timeless. We can consider any magazine or print publication an archive today. Particularly their outdatedness completed a mission of pointing out on what is beyond time and culture, even if there is a nature of human interest that later may play a role of a signifier, possibly, for our past imperfections.
a grin, a pity or a fascination
a contemplation of history in a running sushi of our own discoveries, which we rediscover to discover, another discovery
a fate probability of ending up in another shelf of a disguised reflection of the epoch or a hip find for some artists’ Saturday walk by the store
What is the value of such archives? Is any donation box an archival cosine that travels in its displacement and is still coherent?
A random possession can turn into a metaphysical experience of ultimate row of archival nostalgia, a memory not possessed by an individual who found it.
Opening a material and going through this experience, be it a book, a cd or a chandelier, a soap holder: An object carries information, formal and informal, steeping our emotions in the first place. The general information this sudden archive carries is of no value, but it brings informal information we do not directly grasp but outlive through our emotional background. It’s a flight mode of modern historical information transfer. The books that we open and read are at odds; the sound of inner speech in the passive voice of our mother tongue is alien. Staggered though, it does not necessarily have to do with linguistically metamorphosis and language evolution, the trends of the social situation are expressed through hardly grasped tone, word order, and of course the vocabulary.
In academic environment, citing materials not out of pure secondary data urge, but also as a transfer of social realm into the reformed knowledge situation, adds a crunch to the dusty toast of knowledge juxtaposition. Passively addressing the emotional in the least emotion-intense material is what can make any archive valuable. The memorabilia of a cd with whales speaking or a scientific journal long buried in the 1977 by the author that passed away right at the full stop at the back of his book - their existence is an unconventional proof of the value of an activity.
As we tend to express affection towards improvement, we do learn from this. Through affect, grin, pity and fascination. We are in a homogeneous bath of silicon statics full of emotional attributes coming from archival forms.
It’s a cycle of awareness we always lived with, the information agenda prejudice “ we know more but we always knew it”, opposed to the untangling idea of emotional possession.
It’s an unsolicited archive around us, which brings a grin, a pity or fascination.