Archives Of Memory

“For example, I do not play the horse, any more than I imitate this or that horse, but I become a horse, by reaching a zone of proximity where I can no longer be distinguished from what I am becoming.”
The cartographic activity that is at issue with Deleuze’ essay What Children Say, an activity that assembles affects to an intensive map and thus initiates such zones of proximity, will be the departure for another reading session on Archives of Memory. In collaboration with Patricia Reed and the reading group at Program this session takes place on 27 April, online as well as at Program, Berlin, running from 3 pm to 9 pm. It invites for relating Deleuze’ reflection on the cartographic activity of the child, both with the question of archiving and the matter of reading. Alongside the reading of Deleuze’ essay we would like to address the session on Agamben’s The Unforgettable once again for literally introducing the drawing of a map on archiving ourselves. It is at this point that we would also like to pay attention to structures of cohabitation, which forms the core topic of the reading group at Program.
In order to participate online, all you need is an account on Skype and a connection to the Internet for the time of this session. Alongside the online reading you can attend Archives of Memory at Program, Invalidenstraße 115, Berlin. For practical reasons, please let us know at least two hours before the reading session starts, if you are interested in taking part (soenkeh@gmail.com).


The notion of the unforgettable forms a recurrent topos in Giorgio Agamben’s writings. In Idea of Prose for instance, a collection of essays that dates from 1985, Agamben defines the immemorable as that, "which skips from memory to memory without itself ever coming to mind" and which "is, properly speaking, the unforgettable". A few years later, in The Coming Community, Agamben then refers to the unforgettable as a modality of the example. The place of the example, as Agamben states here, "is always beside itself, in the empty space in which its indefinable and unforgettable life unfolds”. Again, and another ten years later, Agamben resumes the notion of the unforgettable in his commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Romans and dedicates a chapter to this topic. Resistant to that, what can be “stored in the archives of memory”, and thus in contrast to the memorable, as Agamben writes, does the infinite mass “of the lost not entail being remembered and commemorated; rather, it entails remaining in us and with us as forgotten, and in this way and only in this way, remaining unforgettable”.

The Department of Reading would like to invite you to its first reading session in 2008. Archives of Memory takes place on 4 February, online as well as in SMART Project Space (Arie Biemondstraat 105-113, Amsterdam), starting at 17:00 hrs. Albeit the direction of Agamben's reflection towards a concept of messianic time we would like to address in this session Agamben’s comments on the unforgettable as a departure for our discussion on archiving, in particular with regard to the practice of Department of Reading itself. With the topos of the unforgettable we come across a possibility to engage differently with methodological problems concerning the modality and thus the treatment of the irretraceable amount of online data. What usage, habit or custom is at our disposal here? What principles of archiving do we apply to the corpora of documents that are produced during the sessions of the Department of Reading? What purpose could an archive of the Department of Reading have? Finally, can we understand archiving as another mode of reading?

In order to participate online, all you need is an account on Skype and a connection to the Internet for the time of this session. Alongside the online reading you can attend Archives of Memory at SMART Project Space (Arie Biemondstraat 105-113, Amsterdam). Please let us (soenkeh@gmail.com) know your Skype-name in advance.

The Unforgettable


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