I’ve just learnt that an interesting exhibition that’s been inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’s The Library of Babel and Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules opened two weeks ago at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario. Archive Fever! plays with the concepts of collecting, archiving and storing information.
Independent curator Krista Blake invited more than 60 award-winning artists, film makers, writers, actors, musicians, physicists and mathematicians to participate in creating the show. Each of them was sent a numbered box to fill with items of personal significance to themselves. They were free to choose any items they wished – photographs, letters, maps, bottles of sand from different parts of the world, toys, figurines, and so on. The boxes were then put on shelves in a room next to the main gallery in a way that mimics the subterranean world of museum storage where objects are never seen or touched.
In this case, though, visitors are free to open the boxes and handle the contents. It's a curiously intimate act that breaks down conventional gallery barriers to handling exhibits as well as giving the visitor an insight into the personal lives of some of today’s most innovative and creative thinkers. The visitor's reactions are filmed by a revolving camera designed by Montreal sculptor Pascal Dufaux. I wonder if only the curator knows who contributed which box, and how many guessing games go on as to the identity of their owners?
As the exhibition goes on, more boxes will be added, creating an ever-expanding contemporary cultural archive. If you'd like to read more information about the project, please click here.