Fans’ archive building and archive maintenance constitute attempts to prove to the future that particular queer and female ways of being and making existed. If fan archivists did not carefully assemble such proof, women and queer fans’ digital collective actions would almost certainly be forgotten, go unlearned, or simply be, as Mbembe puts it, the subjects of doubt, of disbelief that they ever were. In part this forgetting or doubt would result from the ephemerality of digital production, against which all digital archivists must tirelessly work, but it would also arise from the tendency of hegemonic discourse to elide and ignore what it cannot incorporate.
What I have said here of women and queer fans can be said of every non- and counterhegemonic group that forges a community online and seeks to archive its communications and cultural expressions. Rogue archival efforts are political efforts, for, as Derrida argues, “There is no political power without control of the archive, if not of memory. Effective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and the access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation” (Derrida 1995, 11). Those on the edges of power, in real life and in virtual life, continually invent new cultural forms and genres online, prolifically generate and actively spread their digital productions, and establish digital archives, first of all, in order to demonstrate that their cultures and their creations exist and deserve the status and recognition of being, and second, to refuse those at the center of power complete “control of the archive.” Rogue archivists insistently pry open “the archive”—digital cultural memory writ large to include their idiosyncratic repositories, and thus foist some measure of democratization onto the field of contemporary archival practice.DE KOSNIK, A. (2016) ROGUE ARCHIVES: DIGITAL CULTURAL MEMORY AND MEDIA FANDOM. CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS: THE MIT PRESS.
Fan Archiving, Part 2