The recent understanding of archives – national archives, in particular – has focussed on their relation to power, to the authorities’ privilege of discourse and self-image. No language, no histories and no archives are neutral. In the tradition of Michel Foucault, thinkers and artists have brought forward a range of narratives that have been silenced, hidden or ignored in the established archives. At the same time, our archives are currently rapidly growing and multiplying. The sheer amount of recorded events is problematic. The National Archives of France, for instance, now stretches over 406.000 running meter. In spite of advanced searching tools, documents are in danger of oblivion and decay. They lose their context and meaning, both as objects and as signs.
The symposium Order and Collapse unfolds between these two poles.
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