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.
Introduction, Min Park, 2021
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.
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.