Today, Wikileaks released (or are about to release) 500,000 intercepted pager messages from 5 hours before the events of September 11th to 24 hours after . Right away, on the site's homepage for this index, I feel like I'm about to step into an archive and respond in the same matter physiologically. My heart beats a bit faster before I open the page that contains the first messages sent after the first tower was hit. On monday we did presentations about our thesis project summaries. Fellow classmate Kate Tarini's work features archive spaces, but she also discussed the body's physiological experience of an archive. The wealth of information around you, the giant spaces...it's almost sublime, and I know that I find myself having different kinds of reactions to these spaces and the information within. I become a bit flustered, anxious, perhaps sometimes excited, imagining what's possible in store for me.
And like an archive where different items will have more meaning than others, so is this pager messages index. The long page of text filled with mundane messages from spouses, office workers, virus hosts is slowly replaced by responses to 9/11.
Media reports are noting that most of the messages are confusion about what was happening. I saw one that reported it was a bomb detonation. Already the index is being analyzed for information it can give us about the reactions of people to the event.
I found this index to be a great example of the kind of physiological responses an archive can produce.
More info: thestar.com's article - the story, and more links