Here we have a man whose job it is to gather the day's refuse in the capital. Everything that the big city has thrown away, everything it has lost, everything it has scorned, everything it has crushed underfoot he catalogues and collects. He collates the annals of intemperance, the capharnaum of waste. He sorts things out and selects judiciously: he collects like a miser guarding a treasure, refuse which will assume the shape of useful or gratifying objects between the jaws of the goddess of Industry (Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project).
To Walter Benjamin, a rag-picker constituted an opposite to a bourgeois collector,
historian, and archivist typically bound to the confines and rules of
their professions and institutions. Ignoring the most valuable and historically
exceptional, the amateur archivist, or a para-archivist as we might
figuratively call a rag-picker, orients him-/herself instead towards
the margins of modernity and fragmentary by-products of its rhythms and processes. In parallel
to his precarious condition, away from any attention, he/she creates a
prodigious account of the modern society's persistent demand for the
Echoing some of Benjamin's aspirations to rethink the language and techniques through which we speak about and document our times, the On-Going Project aims to compose a subjective, mixed-media para-archive of various facets of contemporary everyday life. Utilizing contemporary recording technologies, since 2008, the On-Going Project has comprised about a dozen practices, for example excerpts of everyday soundscapes, fragments of daily news, fragmentary visualizations of GPS data from daily walks, and portraits of technologized individuals taken in different means of public transportation. This website presents only a small excerpt of the regularly collected material.
For more info about the author Click here