Archive Fever – Home of Authority


“As is the case for the Latin archivum or archium (a word that is used in the singular, as was the French archive, formerly employed as a masculine singular: un archive), the meaning of “archive,” is only meaning, comes to it from the Greek arkheion: initially a house, a domicile, an address, the residence of the superior magistrates, the archons, those who commanded.  The citizens who thus held and signified political power were considered to possess the right to make or to represent the law. On account of their publicly recognized authority, it is at their home, in that place which is their house (private house, family house, or employee’s house), that official documents are filed. The archons are first of all the documents’ guardians. They do not only ensure the physical security of what is deposited and of the substrate. They are also accorded the hermeneutic right and competence.”  ~Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever (1995)

Mushi-Shi is a poignant, visually lush and compelling anime (animated-show) that takes a alter-dimensional view of common ailments and situations we often dismiss. This particular episode conveyed Derrida’s outline of the lineage of the Archive and its relation to power, that it seems the creators of this either read Archive Fever, or Derrida studied traditional Japanese ways and means, or the concept of the Archive is so very rooted in authority that it cannot but express its true essence, even in anime. The particular connection of how these two things came to resemble each other is less interesting to me than the fact that one of my favorite shows neatly visualizes the work of one of the most opaque although brilliant minds of our time.