Notebook: The Living Archive w Zoé Samudzi
In anticipation of her doctoral thesis work about the 1904-1908 Herero and Nama genocide, Zoé Samudzi traveled to Windhoek, Namibia to gain some understanding of the archival documents she would be using for her fieldwork. She quickly realized that the archive contained complementary and contradictory narratives that were influenced not only by 19th and 20th century actors, but also by the individuals responsible for assembling and collecting materials in the contemporary moment and their own varied political motivations.
"The archive" is not simply a bounded physical space, but also, perhaps, a description for an ongoing competition over history and memory. There are items missing, there are items that are noted as having been moved and destroyed, there are archivists and curators that actively deny the genocide narrated by documents contained within the space, there is genocide denialism even as the genocide is featured within the space. The archive is a living organism, the archive is also a monster.