Archive Journal: The Heretical Archive

Review of Domietta Torlasco's book.

torlasco_heretical coverIn Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, Jacques Derrida asserts the fundamentally patriarchal structure and function of the archive. He suggests that the archive is an architecture within which the law is transmitted and inherited in a compulsive return that preserves established relations of power. In The Heretical Archive, a sustained response to Derrida’s lecture, Domietta Torlasco attempts to envision an answer to Derrida’s call for us to find a way “to archive otherwise.” Torlasco seeks a “heretical” theory of archive that, rather than Oedipal, could be thought of as “Antigonean” and more suited to the digital era in which we now find ourselves. The figure of Antigone, who defied the law in order to bury her brother, adopted the language of the state in order to transgress its laws, thereby contaminating its very sociosymbolic foundations. Torlasco suggests that certain digital works embody this contamination and, in doing so, open up the possibility of new sociosymbolic structures. Drawing in particular on the later writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, she examines five recent digital works that appropriate imagery from the cinematic past and offer an alternative to the “patriarchive.”

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Published in: Archive Journal
By: Notes + Queries