marks in space
Uit de keuken van de curator

marks in space

11/12/2008

Sitting in the library, looking out upon the City Hall of Eindhoven, next to me Nicolle Lamerichs, also happily typing her thoughts away, I’m reading in Derrida’s ‘Archive Fever’ and it seems appropriate to simply repeat here, as a beginning, a few sentences that I just read (and please don’t be discuraged by difficult words or formulations, one can google those today, but for what I wish to say here complete comprehension of the quote is helpful but not necessary):

‘On a beautiful morning in California a few weeks ago, I asked myself a certain question, among so many others. Without being able to find a response, while reading on the one hand Freud, on the other Yerushalmi, and while tinkling away on my computer. I asked myself what is the moment proper to the archive, if there is such a thing, the instant archivization strictly speaking, which is not [...] so-called live or spontaneous memory (mneme or anamnesis), but rather a certain hypomnesic and prosthetic experience of the technical substrate. Was it not at this very instant that, having written something or other on the screen, the letters remaining as if suspended and floating yet at the surface of a liquid element, I pushed a certain key to “save”; a text undamaged, in a hard an lasting way, to protect marks from being erased, so as to ensure in this way salvation and indemnity, to stock, to accumulate, and, in what is at once the same thing and something else, to make the sentence available in this way for printing and for reprinting, for reproduction?’ (Derrida, J., Archive Fever, A Freudian Impression, 1995 (trans. Eric Prenowitz), p. 26)

What better formulations could I hope to have at my disposal to express both the joy, but also the fear, that is within me when writing my opening statement for this ‘Kitchenblog’. For on the one hand it is an immense pleasure to allow others to follow my thinking, to be able to express not only, at the end of a long research, a well balanced and calculated argument, but to present in-between short thoughts and observations that slowly build towards what one day hopefully will amount in a coherent argument. But on the other hand, of course, there is the fear of not being able to think through the comments that I write here rigorously; exposing myself to the danger of writing things which I might later have to correct or distance myself from; inserting information on the website of the Van Abbemuseum and with it on the shadow world of the Internet itself, that might start to live a life on its own, limiting extremely mypossibility to ‘control’ it, perhaps damaging both my repuation and even the one of the museum. Or to rephrase it in line with the metaphor of the blog: would people still come to dinner when they have had a taste of the cook?

How to deal with these fears and anxieties? Perhaps the way out of this web of hesitations, is the place from which I write, which perhaps more than any other space in our contemporary society is an experimental kitchen for ideas and experiences. Writing within the paradox of a museum for contemporary or modern art, one has no choice but to open up oneself and allow ‘the public’ (you the reader) to experience a process, a development, that we will both document and push further. How the ideas and experiences that surfaces here will transform outside ot his sanctuary is an open question, as is the question if they will ever return to their ‘home’, to be transformed again. The only way to close the openness of those questions is by beginning – pressing ‘save’, pressing ‘publish’, instigating the process of reproduction – and documenting what happens next. So let me conclude with a reference to what is coming up and say, as Cap. Picard would do in Star Trek: ‘Engage.’