The ARCHIVE is an assembly of documentary material from Folkets Hus and Kammer (soundfiles, photographs, video, VR, 3D renderings, models, video, drawings, publications and objects). This research archive is central to Røstads presentation of her artistic result.

The ARCHIVE is open to the public by appointment only. To book a session in the archive: Book

Visiting the ARCHIVE

Once you have arrived at the ARCHIVE, there are a few things to consider to maximise your time, and to help the research process go smoothly. Let the archivist introduce you to the material, so you have an overview. After familiarising yourself with the ARCHIVE, you can better adapt your workflow to those criteria when conducting your research.

Ask for assistance: The archival staff is there to help you. If you have questions, ask them.

Connect with other researchers: The ARCHIVE is a unique and intimate place where you might find researchers that may share your topic of interest. Introduce yourself to the other researchers, you never know what future benefits can come from a greeting.

However, note that archivists will keep the researcher names and material request confidential and will not divulge such information without consent.

During my work as an archivist got to experience «The Participatory Monument» as a whole concept. My job was to meet the visitors in the entrance and guide them to the archive. After we walked through the door, we were inside the archive, and it seemed like going back in time. In my mind was thinking of the list of checkpoints I needed to go through for the visitors to get the full intended experience. I started by closing the door behind them, putting the notebook on one of the tables, and asking them to write their names. The simple act of signing your name should be natural, but my tasks as an archivist depended on the visitors. Some visitors seemed uninterested in writing their names, like it was an act of wasting time. They continued writing their names while their eyes glanced up and carefully started examining the room. Others were delighted to write their names, and it seemed that they were happy to participate in the project in a way.
Going back to my experience when I greeted the visitors at the entrance, I was confronted with an immediate feeling of either excitement and self-confidence or an apologetic feeling. My feeling depended on the immediate interaction with the visitor, a combination of energy and presumptions. I sometimes felt that the visitor's first reaction in meeting me was a minor shock. This shock became visible to me in the form of disappointment. A disappointment in not meeting the person behind the Archive (Merete Røstad), but a completely unknown person presenting them self as the archivist. In some cases I was asked why Merete Røstad did not show up, and why I specifically was given this job. I perceived it as an understandable curiosity about my connection to the project, and how I ended up being the person to present the archive to the visitors. These interactions were defining in how both parts experience at the Archive. I would in some cases feel that I had to prove that I had the knowledge to explain the archive. Also, my subconscious feelings about being a woman, looking younger than I am, and wearing hijab, made me try even harder to show my knowledge and capability to explain. In other words, I was confronted with my own prejudice and self-confidence issues.  
Most of the visitors were older women, mainly with an artistic background, but some also had a particular connection to the subject of the project. In some of the meetings there were people that did not know much about the project in advance, and were listening with interest while I was explaining the Archive, they also had questions and the conversation evolved from being about the Archive to be a 1 hour conversation about art and social structures, even finding a relation through these talks. I decided quite early that I wanted to create a relation or break barriers and misconception by introducing my self as well as getting to know the other persons. The visitors all had different reasons for visiting the archive, some were colleagues, some were other artists looking for inspiration, while some came just to go through specific documents in the Archive. The different reasons and stories that the visitors brought (or not) had such an impact on my experience on whether it was a successful session or not. Even though I had a list to go through and a goal to introduce the whole archive, some of the visitors almost prevented me from doing that. This was particularly the ones that knew a lot from before, but also some that were more interested in the material and started walking around seemingly uninterested in what I had to say about the project itself. Others did not know anything, or knew a lot but was very interested in hearing what I was planning to say, as if the words I was saying was a footprint of Merete Røstad. In this way I was caught in a conflict between my role of being a messenger trying to convey the «right» message and being spontaneous, adapting to the visitors and becoming a part of the project itself.
The experience of being an outsider, coming into this project and learning what I could about the Archive, felt like a research project. And this became more and more clear during my encounters with people in the Archive.
I experienced that the period at the Archive was intellectual and emotional travel as well as a social experiment. The job I was hired to do was only a small part of my whole experience becaming a part of «The Participatory Monument».
Reflection on being the Archivist in the Archive

By Amina Sahan