Toute la mémoire du monde

Like others have said previously, the filming of the movie is pretty ominous. The narrator characterizes the books as “prisoners” “never to leave again.” Shots of people marching back and forth across the shelves call up images of jailers pacing across prison cells, probably because I watched Shawshank Redemption recently.


As of now, the library contains 14 million items. The extensive cataloguing process documented in the film shows an obsession for collecting published materials, even going so far as to require deposits by law.

At Technique we have an archive of our really (relatively) old books dating from 1885 (check it out here). I think this archive touches closely with the concept of universal memory as presented in this film. The yearbook for over a century has been documenting the MIT consciousness from the time that there were

… to generate new ways of thinking through historical events and to transform the traditional ideas surrounding the status of the photographic document… [to] interrogate the status of the photographic archive as a historical site that exists between evidence and document, public memory and private history.


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