A photo of ‘68 I had never seen, found in a Paris travel magazine I dumpstered last weekend. There were hundreds of magazines unimportant enough to exclude from archives so I’m archiving them here. They seem to have been discarded when someone died; all of them are yellow and frail - I feel like I’m breathing in ashes going through them. But it was one of those fated finds. There are loads of Woman’s Day and Southern Living from the 60s and 70s. The housewifery is so imposing to me, now, and the depictions make palpable the results not just of centuries of struggle, but even of the past 40 years:
our foremothers and forefathers
came singing through slaughter
came through hell and high water
so that we could stand here
and behold breathlessly the sight
how a raging river of tears
is cutting a grand canyon of light
They should be in archives just for shock value (which is much of the archive’s effect anyway). As reminders that no, they’re not parodies. And as gifts: the present, in its usual way, feels so naturalized and eternal.
The person who died and bequeathed their collection to the dumpster amassed stacks of southern recipes. I flip through them and wonder about the role of dessert for the housewife, what baked goods meant for the southern US, what sugar meant to so many else.
A comical setback to these fated finds being, of course, that many of them are in German and I can’t actually read them. I’m archiving but writing captions for the present.
I showed the ‘68 picture to a friend who speaks German and asked her to decipher the caption on the accompanying page. It was small and read something like: Because of the students’ graffiti, the statue is no longer in a state of peaceful contemplation.
Yes, absolutely. Disturbing the dead.