The Archive

Daniel Spoerri and Fluxus

To archive is sometimes to translate something into another form:

Daniel Spoerri archived a moment in time in 1962 by tracing the location of objects as they were sitting on a table at a particular moment. He also described each of the objects in words, cross-referencing them as he went, then published the map and text as a small book. The actual objects and the table seem to have disappeared into the past just like the moment he archived.

Spoerri was part of the Fluxus movement of the 1960s, that inherited an interest in chance from movements such as Surrealism and Dada earlier in the century.

Fluxus—a name taken from a Latin word meaning “flow, flux” (noun); “flowing, fluid” (adj.) (Wiktionary)—is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. Read More

Daniel Spoerri, detail of Anecdoted Topography of Chance, 1962

In connection with a one man show of his snare-pictures at the Galerie Lawrence in Paris in 1962, Spoerri wrote his Topographie Anécdotée* du Hasard (Anecdoted Topography of Chance). Spoerri was then living at the Hotel Carcassone in Paris, in room number 13 on the fifth floor. To the right of the entrance door was a table which his wife Vera had painted blue. Spoerri drew on a ‘map” the overlapping outlines of all the 80 objects that were lying on the table on 17 October 1961 at exactly 3:47 p.m. Each object was assigned a number and Spoerri wrote a brief description of each object and the memories or associations it evoked. The descriptions cross referenced other objects on the table which were related. The Topographie Anécdotée* du Hasard was printed as a small pamphlet of 53 pages plus a fold out map and index and was distributed as an advertisement for the exhibit. The Topographie Anécdotée* du Hasard is more than just a catalog of random objects, however; read in its entirety, it provides a coherent and compelling picture of Spoerri’s travels, friends and artistic endeavors. Read More