ISSN : 2266-6060


Clamart, march 2011.

We live in a world of archives. We spend a lot of time producing or classifying documents which are only made to testify about our lives. What we bought, what we earned, what we did. These records constitute our own private accountability. Generally we do not use them. But we keep producing them. Just in case. Actually a lot of them are legally required. They are by no means decorative or symbolic: they are valuable. And they do not only concern people. They are also essential to certain things, and to more complex assemblages such as this store. The building itself has its own records, so does the shopkeeper and all the transactions that took place there, between him and his customers or his suppliers. Accountability is the mother of capitalism. In France, since 1673 and the publication of the “code du commerce”, shopkeepers must record their activity in a “journal” that is a means of both memory and control. And indeed, as merchant today, you are also an archivist. You take time to record everything, to classify the files, to tidy up all of them once in a while. Over the years you need more and more space to store them. And then, some day, you retire or you die. And the store closes definitively. And in a blink your massive pile of very important records becomes a heap of rubble.

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