PART SEVEN The Archive and the Record: Memory, Obsession, the Discourse of the Miser and the Dustbin of History

An even more fascinating object, however, is the subject without a record: a person with no history, whom the system has not catalogued and registered, who exists as a bodily-physical presence but not as an object of the archive. This subject, free from being tangled in the webs of government records, financial statements, and other identity attachments, represents to those caught in such snares an unimaginable life. Not simply the freedom from identity but also the uncertainty of others’ when attempting to identify this person (from the Latin: mask): without official documentation, photographic identification, this person could be anybody. A truly horrific scenario emerges when, in the digital age, the notion of forgery is added to the possibility of an individual having no existence within the system of the archive: this person could fabricate records or steal records for personal use. An opposite, comical scenario is also present: that the individual in question could simulate an identity already possessed and literally wear a mask of herself.

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