Category: An_archiv


‘The past is not “memory” but the archive itself, something that is factually

present in reality,’

-Boris Groys


Mixed media installation

Monitor, Schedule book, HGB record


                       I contemplate about what HGB is for me, what is inside the

archive of HGB. Then, I found a record, ‘Bericht der königlichen Akademie für

graphische künste und Buchgewerbe zu Leipzig 1912 bis 1914’, which is about

is out of our control in some ways. There are no script and no rehearsal for this

video. The record, which represents the history of HGB, is put next to the

security camera monitor to demonstrate the past and present. The monitor

shows the daily activity of a student’s apartment, which is happening ‘now’. The

past and present, the great university and the little student form a strong

contrast. The security camera is facing upward from the ground as to give a

unclear view of the environment and create a feeling of being peeped, or an

invasion of privacy, which normal position of security camera is placed from the

ceiling and facing downward in order to give a whole view of the space.

Moreover, the security camera is monitoring the main entrance of the apartment,

filming the in and out activities of the apartment, which responds to the official

HGB record of professors’ holiday. The live video describes different the

perspectives towards HGB from a student and from the authority. I have also

recorded the number of in and out activities of the main door, kitchen and

bathroom in order to respond to the HGB record.

On the other hand, the HGB record also includes the amount of

teaching material used from 1912-13. For example, 577 books and works and

496 single sheets are used. The books compose 59 art history, aesthetic, critic

books, 69 world and cultural history books…etc. The use of single sheets includes

64 sheets for etching, 22 sheets for woodcarving, 20 sheets for lithography…etc.

This detailed information is very rare nowadays and would not be able to find

it on HGB website. We have rich resources and technology nowadays and there is

no more need to control the usage of single sheets. I found these numbers are

very interesting and would like to further develop the concept by collecting the

number of books and paper usage in my daily life. Therefore, I started to record

how many book I read, how many paper I used and the purpose of use as a part

of the installation for this An_archive project in order to respond to the strict and

detailed HGB record. As I rarely use paper for artistic purpose currently, I also

counted the tissue paper usage everyday. The collected number will be a living

archive. Archive exists everyday. As Diana Franssen proposed, ‘looking at your

own archive through the lens of another archive [that] you are able to learn […]

about your different positions’.8 During the recording of number of tissue paper

usage in my daily life, I found that it is difficult to maintain the accuracy.

Sometimes I forgot to record after I consumed a few toilet papers. The HGB

record amazes me again with its accuracy and strictness. When I am recording

the numbers, I am actually making choices. Deciding what to be recorded or

deleted to build a personal archive.

Detail of HGB record, Photo by Chang an