11. Implications and applications

Our lives are henged round with systems of classification, limned by standard formats, prescriptions, and objects. Enter a modern home an you are surrounded by standards and categories spanning the color of paint on the walls and in the fabric of the furniture, the types of wires strung to appliances, the codes in the building permits allowing the kitchen sink to be properly plumbed and the walls to be adequately fireproofed. Ignore these forms at your peril – as a building owner, be sued by irate tenants; as an inspector, risk malpractice suits denying your proper application of the ideal to the case at hand; as a parent, risk toxic paint threatening your children. To classify is human.

– Bowker & Star, Sorting Things Out: Clasification and its Consequences, 2000: p. 1

Lost in Material Archives


Bowker, G. and Star, S. L., Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences, Cambridge/London, MIT Press: 2000 (1999).

Dekker, A. (ed.) Lost and Living (in) Archives: Collectively Shaping New Memories, Amsterdam, Valiz: 2017.

Derrida, J. Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996 (1995).

Lévi-Strauss, C. The Raw and the Cooked [Le Cru et le Cuit, 1964]. Chicago: Chicago University press, 1969.