Julietta Singh: The Body Archive

“There is an archival crisis already looming here, because the body’s surface is ultimately not stable ground upon which to build an archive. While the skin is a visual sign of the body’s exterior limit, the physicist Karen Barad emphasizes how in fact bodies extend into space well beyond the skin. Molecularly, we spread into the “outside“ world, mingling with it in ways that are not apparent to us. Our bodies are porous, as Nancy Tuana reminds us when she calls into question “the boundaries between our flesh and the flesh of the world.“ [Nancy Tuana, “Viscous Porosty“] These feminist formulation of the body insist on our vital entanglements with the outside world, complicating any easy binary demarcations of “inside“ and “outside.“ For better and for worse, we are made up of an outside world which constitutes, nourishes, and poisons us in turns.
Suddenly I am aware of the body as both archive and archivist – in a crucial sense, it gathers its own materials. Control over the assemblage that I am turns out to be pure fantasy.“

Julietta Singh: No Archive Will Restore You. Punctum Books 2018, p.30-32