Since my tour of the Bristol Record Office, I have been thinking about the material architecture of the archive and about the history of the BRO building itself.
I was reminded of Alain Resnais’ Toute la memoire du monde (All the memory in the world, 1956) a short film of the French National Library. Uriel Orlow’s analysis of the film in his text Latent Archives, Roving Lens puts it well; “Moreover, it becomes clear that the building itself is an inseparable part of what the archive is. It is not just a shell, a store-house or strong room protecting the document but also a powerful shield against the constant flow of information – an architectural two-way valve. The archive as control-mechanism becomes palpable during the following minutes of constant camera-movement along external balustrades and through the long corridors and rooms inside the building”.