Two books I’m reading now are David Kishik’s The Manhattan Project: A Theory of a City, and Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas: Poems. In The Manhattan Project, Kishik employs the ghost of Walter Benjamin – The Arcades Project, a fragmented chronicle of 19th century Paris – to ghostwrite the story of New York City through the assembly of bits of text, quotations and reflections that he reads, interprets, re-reads and re-interprets as he moves through the city day by day. In Whereas, Long Soldier’s poetry intrudes into Western documentary practices to lay bare underlying assumptions and real outcomes of settler colonialism. As an archivist engaged with the history of records, I am drawn to these works because of their unconventional form and for the ways in which they push past established ways of seeing.
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