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22.07. – 13.08.2005
forget it! don't trust your archives

My memory, sir, is like a dustbin. (Jorge Luis Borges "The relentless memory")

The ability of men to remember is basic principle of our culture and essential part of what our society defines itself by. Museums, archives, databases and networks determine the picture we make of our society. Our urge to collect and to archive. to store and to file, to systemise and to codify, to finally preserve what we believe to be important enough to be passed on to our posterity, has reached the extent of an enormous data stream with the digital age. Thanks to digitisation we are relieved of the tedious obligation to decide what is worth preserving - we therefore save everything and decide later what we need.

Archives are not only the accumulation of data; they also stand for the protection against the threatening loss of things – the temptation to save everything, so that nothing gets lost, is therefore self-evident. Expanding communication channels, varied storage possibilities and extensive meta-keywording are responsible for the increase of digital archives. This leads to the question, whether the higher quantity of data causes the development of new storage media, or whether the increased storage capacity makes room for the production of data trash. How many archivists does it take to move the accumulated data masses? And who is able to use them anyway? What criteria are applied to select what is to be preserved and what can or should be forgotten? Storage media assign the format in which information is preserved and by that determine if and how data can be retrieved and what is possible to be archived as an event at all. If one understands memory as the basis of culture, storage media and the use of them essentially define what is labelled as culture and finds its way into the public consciousness.

Our confidence in the perfection of recording technologies, archiving and collaborative filter mechanisms change our perception of reality. The awareness of the ability to save and store everything for later use reduces our willingness to concentrate on the moment. Condensed information in a practical storage format as the result of recording and filter processes is often regarded as more effective than the direct experience of a live situation. Reference is security. To leave the field of what is considered secure is a risk.

Imperfection, coincidence, spontaneity - what cannot be saved, recorded and documented? How durable is the moment? What is the quality of the non-permanent? How productive is oblivion? Rewriting of rules, breaking off processes, selecting and deleting - garage 05 is searching for artists’ approaches and positions that critically discuss the technologies and mechanics of saving, archiving and forgetting.
Trash your archives, but don’t forget to make a backup!