Mapping the Archive

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Mapping the Archive is an interactive website ( that explores the last 60+ years of Bay Area art and culture, and how this is being remembered, conserved and shared. This involves identifying what is remarkable about the Bay Area. One thing that stands out is the ripe environment for post-studio practice and the myriad of social and political movements, education, journalism, and economic climate that have informed and fostered it.

Artist Lexa Walsh has mapped this trajectory through research, volunteer archiving, meeting regularly with cultural workers, artists, and archivists, and taking information from gallery visitors; all who have added rich content. I have witnessed extremes in archiving, from piles of smashed boxes to well-oiled machines of white gloves and acid-free paper. Discussions of analogue vs. digital consistently came up. I have learned about the subjectivity of value, which changes from individual to individual, institution to institution.

This project was built as a physical timeline in the de Young’s Kimball Education Gallery in May 2014, alongside a number of archives, case studies, and research materials to not only support it but also propose questions.[1]

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.


  1., 8-7-15