Monuments and documents... and vice versa.

In the introduction of The Archeology of Knowledge, Michel Foucault outlines the difference between what history has been, and what it has become. A striking example of this comes where Foucault writes: “[…] history, in its traditional form, undertook to 'memorize' the monuments of the past, [and] transform them into documents,” whereas “in our time, history is that which transforms documents into monuments” (Foucault 7). What this demonstrates is that history no longer exists as an established method to retain memory, or the past, but now attempts to be something greater, “history aspires to the condition of archaeology, to the intrinsic description of the monument” (Foucault 7), which as Foucault continues, has a myriad of consequences. What is clear is that history in our time is not stagnant and is constantly subject to review and interpretation. As a result our knowledge base is changed over and over again, as if going through a revolving door of filters, coming out askew time and time again.

No comments: