But the trouble with the Republic's national archives is the same as the trouble with most other archives everywhere - it's disorganised, uncatalogued, nobody really knows what there is; although there's a few people worldwide doing bits and pieces to collect it.
And the *other* trouble with it is that quite a lot of relevant material is held in collections outside the Republic itself. Your local public archives has some of it, I expect. Things that are about homeless people's lives, but that were made by looking *at* homeless people, from the outside. This stuff wasn't collected by homeless people, and it wasn't catalogued by homeless people either; so it turns us into the eternal Other. It makes us into a "they" - they do this and they think that and they feel this and they experience that. They, they, they. We're not the only ones whose histories are presented this way in archival space, of course - there's a lot of it about.
In this residency, through November 2018, I'm pulling together some items that are part of the vast national archives of the Republic of the Homeless - some that belong to me, some that belong to people I know - and cataloguing them archivally, as an artistic practice. The archiving world has its own ways of doing things; its own secret methodologies and ways of looking and ways of understanding material culture; so cataloguing in an archival way is a very particular thing. It reveals some unexpected truths, and obscures other truths, just by the mechanism of what kind of information it asks the cataloguer to give; and often you go so far, and then you have to break with the accepted archival methodology because it cannot process or record what you need to say about this or that object. Especially if that object is somehow renegade or marginalised, because the archival profession was originally (I guess) created to record the lives of the powerful. But that moment when you have to break with the time-honoured practices of archiving, is often the most interesting and revealing part of the whole process.
I'll be using a modified version of the international archival cataloguing standard ISAD(G), and using an open-source platform called Omeka to create my digital catalogue; so I'll link to that from here, and you will be able to see a growing catalogue of stuff relating to experiences of homelessness, and what the people who own the stuff have to say about it. And I'll write here about some of the ideas and questions that come up in the process, and post some photos of the obejcts I am cataloguing.