The Total (Digital) Archive: (The) UnBeing as Performative Ontology

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Inspired by Christian Boltanski’s Les Archives de C. B. (1965 – 1988) (Albers, 2011), this paper starts with a question: imagine there was a way to document every aspect of our life, in its most private and most public manifestations, via digital media (photography, video, text and so on). To what extent can we say that our being-in-the-world (Heidegger, 1927) has been sufficiently (if not wholly) captured? Frivolous though this question may seem, it can reveal the crucial role of digital media in the present and the need to retheorise the ethico-political dimensions of ‘the archive’ (Derrida, 1993) as an analytical lever through which our digital Being may be reconfigured as UnBeing. Adding to my analysis of (the) UnBeing as ‘writing’ elsewhere, here I offer another angle by focusing on ‘the archive’ and what I call ‘performative ontology’. I start with Foucault to consider ‘being digital’ as a set of statements (Foucault, 1972, 79) made (for my purposes) on digital archives before I move on to elucidate the ways in which Derrida’s work on the ‘archive’ powerfully intervenes to neatly describe not only current our digital existence but, more importantly, its future.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2024
EventThe 8th Derrida Today Conference - National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Duration: 10 Jun 202414 Jun 2024
Conference number: 8


ConferenceThe 8th Derrida Today Conference
Abbreviated titleDerrida Today
Internet address


  • Derrida
  • Deconstruction
  • Digital culture
  • digital ontology
  • Technology


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