Anarchive – Concise Definition

  1. The anarchive is best defined for the purposes of the Immediations project as a repertory of traces of collaborative research-creation events. The traces are not inert, but are carriers of potential. They are reactivatable, and their reactivation helps trigger a new event which continues the creative process from which they came, but in a new iteration.
  2. Thus the anarchive is not documentation of a past activity. Rather, it is a feed-forward mechanism for lines of creative process, under continuing variation.
  3. The anarchive needs documentation – the archive – from which to depart and through which to pass. It is an excess energy of the archive: a kind of supplement or surplus-value of the archive.
  4. Its supplemental, excessive nature means that it is never contained in any particular archive or documentation element contained in an archive. It is never contained in an object. The anarchive is made of the formative movements going into and coming out of the archive, for which the objects contained in the archive serve as springboards. The anarchive as such is made of formative tendencies; compositional forces seeking a new taking-form; lures for further process. Archives are their waystations.
  5. Since it exceeds the archive and is uncontainable in any single object or collection of objects, the anarchive is by nature a cross-platform phenomenon. It is activated in the relays: between media, between verbal and material expressions, between digital and off-line archivings, and most of all between all of the various archival forms it may take and the live, collaborative interactions that reactivate the anarchival traces, and in turn create new ones.
  6. The anarchive pertains to the event. It is a kind of event derivative, or surplus-value of the event. This makes it an essential element of the Immediations project, whose stated aim has been to develop an approach to research-creation as a practice of interdisciplinary event design, or to quote the original application, as the practice of creating innovative “platforms for organizing and orienting live, collaborative encounters.”
  7. Approached anarchivally, the product of research-creation is process. The anarchive is a technique for making research-creation a process-making engine. Many products are produced, but they are not the product. They are the visible indexing of the process’s repeated taking-effect: they embody its traces (thus bringing us full circle to point 1).