I consider archival research as a manifestation and representation of mass deception, artifice, and memory machinery when parts of ourselves and our appraisals are mirrored back to us through the archive. It matters who you are and what kind of knowledge and background you bring to the archive. I look at what occurs in the lacunas and peripheries of the conceptual divide between those who research, create, curate and those who use. I consider there is an inherent challenge in decoding archives which have multiple pasts and potentialities of transient multiple meanings.
I deliberate whether archival research itself is the inherent problem, or if we must better consider the minds that curate, appraise, interpret and use its contents. Moreover, any archive, no matter how much content is possesses, fails to be fully comprehensive – there always remains a gap or ‘lacuna.’ In ‘The Oppositional Imagination: Feminism, Critique, and Political Theory’, Joan Cocks writes,
It is paradoxically in hiding that the secrets of desire come to light, that hegemonic impositions and their reversals, evasions, and subversions are at their most honest and that the identities and disjunctures between felt passion and established culture place themselves on most vivid display (hooks). We are going to look at what has been hidden and bring to light the artifice and mass deception of the archive.