Consider the stories this box might hold. Stapled cardboard is closed round it like a tatty book cover while "the role of narrative is declining, the role of the archive... increasing (to) become the dominant symbolic and cultural form." I’m not going to let you see inside it, I’m afraid. Consider me as the trustee of the box. I am your reader, your gate-keeper, choosing what to reveal. Consider the box itself, a container, containing things I see and you do not. You are imagining what it might contain, aren’t you?
I am not passive, not a museum employee, guarding this box and permitting viewings (put on the gloves, please). Just as narrative address needed redefining, to include “intradiegetic you”, this box-archive cannot be viewed as just a collection of third-person things. We, with our own constantly updating and expanding archives of recorded presence - our loyalty cards and social media accounts and online bank accounts and CCTV appearances - form identities that will outlive our physical bodies. Our life stories - or perhaps we need to start using the term life archives - will be accessible for as long as the technology which supports them exists. The box is not a life archive in this sense, though it holds a collection of things which provide evidence of a life, of a moment in a life. But then, it is not acting alone. I, on behalf of us, am acting. It is my archive (for now), which I’m sharing (at least, that’s what I’m telling you).
Consider the box as storage, like the cupboard it was found in, just an “accumulation of objects. Those objects are each complete in themselves.” Consider it as a collection, intentional, whose “objects… do not have that completeness. They only have significance in relation to each other.” Through the filter of my looking, a list begins to form, a kind of mental archiving of the contents, a taxonomy occurring from my attempts to make sense of each object in relation to its companions, resulting in “ordered structure… no longer inherent to the collection but imposed upon it,” ready to be told as a story, or several. And I tell and retell, trying out slight variations each time, judging the effect that the shifts in emphasis have on you. The systematic mention of the contents is heady when first revealed, isn’t it? And it is addictive to be the one to reveal them, fingering the rustling papers as I do, allowing momentary glimpses of documents that only mystify. I combine narratives for you, as writers combine letters of the alphabet to tell you a story, “(not) simply… a combination of letters, but a combination of signs,” a “pastime with past time.”
I divide the box’s contents into chapters: The Sand House Hotel; the greetings card; Hilda. The conventional ordering of addresses and locations creates its own alphabetical, referential story, reordering the contents. The ascending numbers, the a-z: the archival impulse of my computer preferences is an impulse not resisted, as I group and list so that my archive may be easily navigated; essential as I begin to dive into the wormholes of the web, looking for clues, adding to my list of folders, like Boltanski snipping portraits out of obituary notices. These folders are the “result of a repetition of the same syntactical function,” providing a catalogue that is then available, “like a musical score, (ready for) anyone (to) play it.”
 Alphen, E. van, (2014). Staging the Archive: Art and Photography in the Age of New Media. London: Reaktion,p.7
 DelConte, M. T., HRA (2003). ‘Who Speaks, Who Listens, Who Acts: A New Model for Understanding Narrative’, PhD thesis, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA, pp. 1-23
 Alphen, p.91
 Alphen, p.91
 Alphen, p.91
 Apolloni, A. (2017). ‘The end of the era of endings’, Eurozine, p2
 Hutcheon, L. (1988), cited by Apolloni, p.2
 Alphen, p.21
 McElroy et al. (1993) ‘Clinical and theoretical implications of a possible link between obsessive‐compulsive and impulse control disorders’, pp.121-132
 Alphen, p.94
 Boltanski, C. (1997), cited by Artspace (2017). ‘"It’s The Idea That’s Important": Christian Boltanski Thinks Art Is Like a Musical Score that Anyone Can Play’