this site is a work in progress

View All        Work        Archive
Project Archive / website

In the Introduction to The Miracle of Analogy, The History of Photography, Part 1, Kaja Silverman writes,

As Walt Whitman writes in an inexhaustibly rich passage, “A vast similitude interlocks all / All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets, / All distances of place however wide, / all distances of time, [and] all inanimate forms.” It also includes “all souls, all bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds, / All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes, / All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages, / All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe, / All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future….” It is only through this interlocking that we ourselves exist. Two is the smallest unit of Being.

Silverman suggests this interlocking as the basis of our existence: that our Being is inherently plural, intertwined, and reciprocal. This concept, an interlocking that is not in rejection of our individuality or agency, helps us process the complicated nature of our existence—that is, coexistence. Her writing proposes the coexistence of all Beings that goes beyond boundaries and dimensions such as ideas, distance, and time. It binds together the past, present, and future in which history is revealed to us.

This project started in March of 2020. Though at various intensities and places, the past year has uprooted us all—from cities, people, and values. These changes prompt questions surrounding what we are used to calling “normal,” and necessitate a new normal. How or where do we start such a change when our understanding of the past, present, and future is unsettled? Where do we re-root ourselves?

Throughout this project, we contemplate how the archive is used to understand history; how it is constantly rebuilding upon the continuum of time, and yet providing us a sense of home, of being rooted, and of belonging. The concept of the archive itself has opened to various possibilities with digitization in recent years, and in the same way, the notion of the archive as we worked through this project has changed tremendously. Our understanding of the archive has shifted from an objective, static, and almost monumental material space of recounting to a dynamic and subjective action of reworking and remembering.

Away from the idea of singularity and opposition, our work comprehends how we discover the present within the past and realize the past within the present. We study how our histories, not necessarily linear, directional, or unitary, relate to other Beings of the present, past, and future. Some works are a direct reflection of these new circumstances: an earnest recollection of values, culture, places, and people we identify as home, and the changes we experience in the way we define home. Others lean into the uncomfortable places we reside in but cannot call home. We meditate on how we are connected—through time and space, through language, and through translation, between languages and mediums.

Project Archive collects the responses to an earlier draft of this introduction posed as a prompt to friends—some that I have known for many years, others for only a few months. Each work has shaped this project in ways that I have not expected, and after four drafts of the first introduction, I am excited to share our journey. The book starts off with Kenzie’s Gil in which she explores the theme of distance, traveling, and the lost sense of home. Images she has collected reevaluate how we perceive distance and bring a sense of longing. Similar sentiments can be found in Galena’s work, Da ti varvi po voda, a performance work that has been translated into video, then into print with stills. By reenacting a Bulgarian custom, her work shares care and hope she finds in her family and culture. The book concludes with Danielle’s Notes on 见山, an essay on a beautiful tea shop in the city of Hangzhou, drawing from Chinese culture, tea, and philosophy on how we perceive.

Indian scripture Ashtavakra Gita writes, “In me, the shoreless ocean, let the waves of the universe rise and fall as they will. I am neither enhanced nor diminished.” Project Archive paints the ocean which we share. Up close, these waves seem to be acting independently; our waves flow, rise, sink, begin, and end. But from afar, they are constantly building upon each other, all as a part of the ocean. Though this project began with my personal desire to archive, to create a record of my story, it has developed into a shared purpose among the twenty-one of us to understand our collective history beyond our senses of self. We step away from the idea of the “I” and embrace the idea of the unity, of the collective. We embrace the idea of the reciprocity in everything we do: how to touch means to be touched, to see means to be seen, and to love means to be loved.

Walter Benjamin, in On the Concept of History asks, “Are we not touched by the same breath of air which was among that which came before?” Throughout this project, we record how our waves meet one another—or the shared breath of air. Project Archive is a place of meeting—where interlockings of inspirations and talents, of people, of time, and of similarities and differences manifest. It is our response and our offering to the world.

Min Park
March 2021

storytelling through nature, food, and art