If I say I dreamt these images and then found them in the archive, it is because I already had the images in my head, but not as memories. Memory and archive are fundamentally opposed, antagonistic. The affront of the archive is the assumption that it exists to redress memory’s supposed flaws: its ephemeral nature, corporeal ties, fleeting subjectivities, gaps, mistakes, vested interests. The archive is not a repository of cultural memory, but of dreams, a bank of dream material. The work of history is not memory work but dream work. Both memory and archive embrace death, but from contrary positions. The archive is a mausoleum that pretends to be a vast garden. Memory is an irradiated zoo in which the various animals are mutating extravagantly and dying slowly.
Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his monologue-based video essays which are widely screened, collected and exhibited. He lives in Toronto and Chicago, where he is associate professor of Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University. In 2006 he was awarded the Bell Canada Prize in Video Art. He has edited a number of books, including the anthology "The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema" with co-editor Chris Gehman. Coach House recently published a book of his scripts, "Everybody Loves Nothing." He is represented in Toronto by Birch Libralato Gallery.