‘Research and Presentation of All That Remains of My Childhood 1944 – 1950’, the title of Christian Boltanskis’ artist’s book of 1969.
Inside he writes,
‘We will never realize quite clearly enough what a shameful thing death is. In the end, we never try to fight it head on; doctors and scientists merely establish a pact with it, they fight it on points of detail, they slow it down by a few months, a few years, but it all amounts to nothing. What we need to do is attack the roots of the problem in a big collective effort in which each of us will work towards his own survival and everyone else’s.’ 1 (2006, p25)
Charles Merewether, referring to Boltanski’s text writes,
‘The text is suffused with pathos: the archival impulse to preserve the remains of life after death exposes its own vulnerability and futility.’ 2 (2006, p10/11)
I think the text also has humour, or points to where the absurd humour in the activity of archiving arises.1.Boltanski, C. (2006), Research and Presentation of All That Remains of My Childhood 1944-1950. IN Merewether, C. ed. The Archive: Documents of Contemporary Art, London: Whitechapel
2. Merewether, C. (2006, The Archive: Documents of Contemporary Art, London: Whitechapel