In the Dream House – etymology of archive

“The word archive Jacques Derrida tells us, comes from the ancient Greek work “the house of the ruler.” When I first learned about this etymology, I was taken with the use of house (a lover of haunted house stories, I’m a sucker for architecture metaphors), but it is the power, the authority, that is the most telling element. What is placed in or left out of the archive is a political act, dictated by the archivist and the political context in which she lives. This is true whether it’s a parent deciding whats worth recording of a child’s early life or—like Europe and its Stolpersteines, its “stumbling blocks’”—a continent publicly reckoning with its past.”

Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House