Criterion I: Portability
Language as a representation of something which exists in physicality lends itself to the needs of the Archive of Poverty. A word is possibly the most portable form of most things, relying on the symbolism of sign and signified rather than a material presence to represent itself. In an effort to conserve valuable physical space, some of the objects within the Archive of Poverty will be converted into descriptive text. Rooted in nostalgia, the processes of collection of physical objects, creating written descriptions of the objects, and accumulation of these into the form of an archive is the basis of creating a manageable record of the experiences of poverty. This record may be carried from apartment to couch to shelter to street with minimal space wasted. Functioning as a
souvenir, this language “contracts the world in order to expand the personal” and allows one to carry memories without the impractical burden of stability. It is suggested that one writes small.
If the object simply cannot be reduced to descriptive text, it is suggested that it meet both Necessity and Functionality requirements.
Criterion II: Necessity
While the conversion of objects into language in the Archive of Poverty conserves physical space, the restraints of poverty will inevitably require a further limitation of space. Descriptive language can be lengthy, and entries into the Archive must be curated. Abandoning traditional concepts of material value and historical importance, the Archive of Poverty curates entries based on their utilitarian functionality. The Archive of Poverty asks, “Is this thing food? Is it shelter? Will it prevent pregnancy or will it make you happy? Is this thing really necessary?” If not, there is no room for it.
An object or word fulfilling multiple functions will be privileged over an object or word fulfilling one function. The Archive of Poverty requests that each entry meet the necessity requirement, or it will be subject to removal when the Archive’s capacity (which is currently both unknowable and infinitely small) is reached. The Archive’s capacity is based on what one can wear, swallow, smoke or carry. The Archive is curated by hard decisions.
Criterion III: Functionality
An entry into the Archive of Poverty which serves multiple functions will be less likely to be removed when the Archive reaches capacity or is forced to move under duress. For instance, A parka that doubles as a small tent that doubles as an entry in the Archive is more likely to remain in the Archive than just a parka, or just a small tent.1 In this sense, words that have multiple meanings, or are contractions are also more likely to remain in the Archive. Appropriated language is also considered in both of its functions (original context and poetic context). However, a thing to consider is whether you will need to use up your entry in order to survive later on, removing it from the Archive. Archiving a consumable is likely to result in the eventual disappearance of the consumable from the Archive. It is important to remember to not eat the Archive.