Notes for The Archive Project. Day One.

Let us not begin at the beginning, not even at the archive.
                                     --Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever 

In Archive Fever Derrida pursues the idea of the archive--chasing after it like a man deep in fever. Which is what he is, is what any man or woman is, who attempts to capture its essence. Every time he tries to label it, fix it, it becomes yet another thing. The archive, the idea of the archive, changes, duplicates or replicates into infinity. A tiny maddening machine.

Desire is implicit in the archive or, rather, the idea of the archive and the drive after it. And the death drive, too, is a part of all of this--the death drive is an energy, it is the fire that fuels repetition compulsion--desire exists inside the archive, the idea of the archive, and in the drive after it. But what I am most interested in is the energy--the drive--which is desire.

"It is to burn with a passion. It is never to rest, interminably, from searching for the archive right where it slips away. It is to run after the archive, even if there's too much of it, right where something in it unarchives itself. It is to have a compulsive, repetitive, and nostalgic desire for the archive, an irrepressible desire to return to the origin, a homesickness, a nostalgia for the return to the most archaic place of absolute commencement."      --Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever

How, then, to begin when each time I think I reach it--the archive, it smolders from me. And where, then? For guidance, we'll turn to our mentor, Derrida. But the archive is spectral, it ghosts away.

"The question of  the archive remains the same: What comes first? Even better: Who comes first? And second?"