An Introduction to the Archive of the Now

Rosheen Brennan


The Archive of the Now is an online collection of UK based innovative poetics. I met with Andrea Brady its director, to discuss her thinking behind the sites creation. I was especially interested in how the medium of the web had informed her choices. Stemming from the sites ‘about us’ section I wished to learn more about the editorial policy implemented on the site, its specific ideology and whom it categorises as groups it feels require ‘support’. The Archive asserts itself as centring on the ‘innovative’, I wanted to question what collection process this implied, and in use how you would form a balanced analysis of such a concept or locate it within a text? The title of the site suggests an interesting relation to time, as it seems to propose a notion of the contemporary preserved. This temporary stilling is an interesting facet of the net, as it is one of few mediums that contains a fluctuation between maintaining and preserving, change and updating. This form of continual evolution means that no longer may an anthology merely be the presentation of a singular collection of a poets work, but could instead contain numerous recordings of a text, giving a reader access to different interpretations and perspectives across time. In relation to this, the site’s inclusion of texts predominantly as audio files presents questions of performance, with a text’s movement from the page opening the possibility for different media. The collective aspect of the project also provides opportunities for a new distribution network and potential for collaboration and exchange. The archive therefore develops as a form beyond a store or accessible resource, to equally be a means of unification free from many monetary, historical and social constraints that have dominated similar projects in other mediums. The beginning of this project provides the opportunity to return to questions of how we can utilise the medium of the web. In a space in which the creation of place is freed by new and continually evolving parameters, how will we choose to locate contemporary poetics?

Following the interview I have included a brief selection of other archive websites that form the context to this website and provide varying approaches to the ideas raised in this discussion. The selection can be viewed here.

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