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The globalized art world has been overtaken in recent decades by a true compulsion to archive—a compulsion that includes anything from academic research into preexisting archives or those still to be constructed, through exhibitions fully or in part based on them, to frantic competition among private collectors and museums in the acquisition of these new objects of desire. Without a doubt, this phenomenon is not the result of chance.
In view of this, it is urgent that we problematize the politics of archiving, since there are many different ways of approach- ing those artistic practices that are being archived. Such politics should be distinguished on the basis of the poetic force that an archiving device can transmit rather than on that of its technical or methodological choices. I am referring here to their ability to enable the archived practices to activate sensible experiences in the present, necessarily different from those that were originally lived, but with an equivalent critical-poetic density. Facing this issue, a question immediately emerges: How can we conceive of an inventory that is able to carry this potential in itself—that is, an archive “for” and not “about” artistic experience or its mere cataloguing in an allegedly objective manner?