the- documents.org
the- documents.org tracked the entries you viewed during your visit. It documented your path through the website. As such, the time spent on the-documents.org turned into this – a new document.

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the-documents.org
is an online platform, collecting, describing, presenting and generating documents of all sorts. It documents documents.
Your path through the collection lead alongA DONNER, Swarms, Garage Paul > Garage Robert (collection of 2023), Negative sheet 21, negative 24, negative 24,5, Negative sheet 17, negative 36, negative 36,5, We were a modern house, Negative sheet 16, negative 24, negative 24,5, Negative sheet 13, negative 24, negative 24,5, Flint, Directory, At the copyshop, A Bibliographic Reference, Dust, This site has been seized, A smoker’s history of energy, Pretending to be an artichoke, The Imaginary Edge of the Roadway, Birthday Omen, Investment, Weight Bench, A Dead Insect on the Trunk of a Cedrus Atlantica Glauca, The Birds, Potholes
24.04.2024

What constitutes a ‘document’ and how does it function?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the etymological origin is the Latin ‘documentum’, meaning ‘lesson, proof, instance, specimen’. As a verb, it is ‘to prove or support (something) by documentary evidence’, and ‘to provide with documents’. The online version of the OED includes a draft addition, whereby a docu­ment (as a noun) is ‘a collection of data in digital form that is considered a single item and typically has a unique filename by which it can be stored, retrieved, or transmitted (as a file, a spreadsheet, or a graphic)’. The current use of the noun ‘docu­ment’ is defined as ‘something written, inscribed, etc., which furnishes evidence or information upon any subject, as a manuscript, title-deed, tomb-stone, coin, picture, etc.’ (emphasis added).

Both ‘something’ and that first ‘etc.’ leave ample room for discussion. A document doubts whether it functions as something unique, or as something reproducible. A passport is a document, but a flyer equally so. More­over, there is a circular reasoning: to document is ‘to provide with documents’. Defining (the func­tioning of) a document most likely involves ideas of communication, information, evidence, inscriptions, and implies notions of objectivity and neutrality – but the document is neither reducible to one of them, nor is it equal to their sum. It is hard to pinpoint it, as it dis­perses into and is affected by other fields: it is intrinsically tied to the history of me­dia and to important currents in literature, photo­­graphy and art; it is linked to epistemic and power structures. However ubiquitous it is, as an often tangible thing in our environment, and as a concept, a document deranges.

the-documents.org continuously gathers documents and provides them with a short textual description, explanation,
or digression, written by multiple authors. In Paper Knowledge, Lisa Gitelman paraphrases ‘documentalist’ Suzanne Briet, stating that ‘an ante­lope running wild would not be a document, but an antelope taken into a zoo would be one, presumably because it would then be framed – or reframed – as an example, specimen, or instance’. The gathered files are all documents – if they weren’t before publication, they now are. That is what the-documents.org, irre­versibly, does. It is a zoo turning an antelope into an ‘antelope’.

As you made your way through the collection,
the-documents.org tracked the entries you viewed.
It documented your path through the website.
As such, the time spent on the-documents.org turned
into this – a new document.

This document was compiled by ____ on 24.04.2024 09:54, printed on ____ and contains 23 documents on _ pages.
(https://the-documents.org/log/24-04-2024-5987/)

the-documents.org is a project created and edited by De Cleene De Cleene; design & development by atelier Haegeman Temmerman.

the-documents.org has been online since 23.05.2021.

  • De Cleene De Cleene is Michiel De Cleene and Arnout De Cleene. Together they form a research group that focusses on novel ways of approaching the everyday, by artistic means and from a cultural and critical perspective.
    www.decleenedecleene.be / info@decleenedecleene.be
  • This project was made possible with the support of the Flemish Government and KASK & Conservatorium, the school of arts of HOGENT and Howest. It is part of the research project Documenting Objects, financed by the HOGENT Arts Research Fund.
  • Briet, S. Qu’est-ce que la documentation? Paris: Edit, 1951. 
  • Gitelman, L. Paper Knowledge. Toward a Media History of Documents.
    Durham/ London: Duke University Press, 2014.
  • Oxford English Dictionary Online. Accessed on 13.05.2021.

the-documents.org

A snow-covered stainless steel and glass shelf has a note, written in red marker, cello-taped to one of the steel supports: ‘A DONNER’.

Now a park, the Place Marie Janson – colloquially called Carré Moscou or Carré Monnaies – used to house L’Hôtel des Monnaies/het Munthof. For a century, the coins of some twenty-two countries were minted in this building.

hotel_monnaies_nl.pdf

the-documents.org
A DONNER
09:52:21
the-documents.org

July. Our eight-month-old son has a fever. We have a hard time getting him to drink enough. The tally marks on the back of a tortellini-box keep track of the diapers he wets and the millilitres of milk and electrolytes he’s able to hold down. 
Stuck inside with worrying parents, a sticker-book about a farm is his brother’s favourite pass-time. Tired of having to go back and forth between the pastures and the sticker-filled sheets we decide to use my arm as a repository for animals that share a habitat.

the-documents.org
Swarms
09:52:43
the-documents.org

A year ago I moved into Solange’s appartement. From the balcony, I see half the parking lot and the adjacent high rise. On the mailbox, I haven’t replaced her name for mine. 

1. GARAGE PAUL, (+32) 0489. 764 540 / recto-verso NL/FR
2. CASH 24, (+32) 0466 15 32 16 / recto-verso NL/FR
3. GARAGE NADIM (+32) 0470 606 474 / recto-verso NL (1)
4. GARAGE NADIM (+32) 0470 606 474 / recto-verso FR (2)
5. GARAGE GABRIEL (+32) 0489 76 45 40 / recto-verso NL (1)
6. GARAGE GABRIEL (+32) 0489 76 45 40 / recto-verso FR (2)
7. MAGNUM’s (+32) 0492 92 70 70 / recto-verso FR
8. GARAGE ROBERT (+32) 0492 92 70 70 / recto-verso FR (1) 
9. GARAGE ROBERT (+32) 0492 92 70 70 / recto-verso FR (2)

I don’t know whether Solange owned a car.

Bieke Criel, lives and works in Gent (BE). Intrigued by landscape, movement, light and the poetics of what lies in between. Does not own a car, loves to drive one. Part of 019.

the-documents.org
Garage Paul > Garage Robert (collection of 2023)
09:52:49
the-documents.org

A malfunctioning of the camera leading to a double-exposed negative. The car is decisive in establishing the relationship between the superimposed photographs. In the middle of the image, we see it parked in front of the house. Slightly less visible is the same car, repeated but further away. This makes it possible to deduce that the dark outline of the house, with the roof and the chimney, is also the same house as in the other photograph. This time, the house is photographed relatively frontally (the slightly angled point of view allows to bring the shed at the back of the house in the line of sight), and from nearby. At the bottom left, the lines that make up the street help to see the continuity of the one photograph, while the electric wires at the top right aid to comprehend the other one. 

The camera malfunction speculates on a future addition to the plot. The dark, outlined shed’s scale is realistic with regards to the scale of the house and itself (the shed) in the other photograph. Its position with regards to the other buildings seems logical. It imposes itself as a possible second shed for the owner to build in the next few years. In that future shed, the car, now standing in front of the house, could be comfortably parked.

the-documents.org
Negative sheet 21, negative 24, negative 24,5
09:52:52
the-documents.org

Photographing the house and the clearing it stood in proved difficult. During summer, the nettles and brambles slowed down the pace. Some plants stung the elbows. The clearing only became visible when the sun fell through the opening in the canopy. On cloudy days the clearing disappeared.

‘As the order of institutions follows its course, or as huts give way to villages and then to cities and finally to cosmopolitan academies, the forests move further and further away from the center of the clearing. At the center one eventually forgets that one is dwelling in a clearing. […] Yet however wide the circle may get through the inertia of civic expansion, it presumably retains an edge of opacity where history meets the earth, where the human abode reaches its limits.’

Pogue Harrison, R. ‘The Ecology of Finitude’, in: id., Forests. Chicago, 1992, 245.

the-documents.org
Negative sheet 17, negative 36, negative 36,5
09:53:06
the-documents.org

My dream hollyday We were a football
on the beach
We were a modern house.
We were a We swim in the swimming
pool.

June 2022, Marche-en-Famenne. I arrived half an hour early. Waiting for my family to pick me up at the station, near a linden tree, I found a yellow page lying on the pebbles in front of the wooden bench I sat on. It had been a hot day. The sun was finally setting. Music playing in the distance. A white Volkswagen. Windows closed. Hard basses, trembling across the road. Folded three times, the sheet of paper had the size of a DIN A7. A white BMW pulled over. Seven glass jars in a container.

the-documents.org
We were a modern house
09:53:08
the-documents.org

‘Meunerie Duyckers & Conors, les nouveaux moulins’, better known as ‘De Nieuwe Molens’, is a flour mill established in 1897 in the north of Gent along the Verbindingskanaal. Due to increased production, the original 1897 building doubled in 1904. 

Only the facade of the iconic warehouse has been preserved along with the recently renovated gasometers. The building is now part of the Tondeliersite. It has been converted into lofts and flats, and was extended with a new construction.

https://inventaris.onroerenderfgoed.be/erfgoedobjecten/18269

the-documents.org
Negative sheet 16, negative 24, negative 24,5
09:53:11
the-documents.org

In Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project, Convolute Q is dedicated to the panorama. Benjamin writes: ‘Setup of the panoramas: View from a raised platform, surrounded by a balustrade, of surfaces lying round about and beneath. The painting runs along a cylindrical wall approximately a hundred meters long and twenty meters high. The principal panoramas of the great panorama painter Prévost: Paris, Toulon, Rome, Naples, Amsterdam, Tilsit, Wagram, Calais, Antwerp, London, Florence, Jerusalem, Athens. Among his pupils: Daguerre’ (Q1a, 1).

Benjamin, W. The Arcades Project (H. Eiland & K. McLaughlin, trans.). Cambridge/London: The Belknap Press of Harvard  University Press, 2002, p. 528.

the-documents.org
Negative sheet 13, negative 24, negative 24,5
09:53:18
the-documents.org

A cigar box, standing at the back of a shelf next to the heating installation, with in it silex-like stones with what seem to be traces of prehistoric usage. 

In the garage, there were papers (the archive of O. Clemminck) and objects (stones, tiles) left to us by a man who had worked at the city archive. He was an acclaimed expert on our village’s history.1

1

A recent study by professor Philippe Crombé at Ghent University states that during the last Ice Age, in the region where I grew up, there was once a great lake, with, at the shores, proven presence of prehistoric man. As a kid, we dug up shells with a toothbrush, and set a perimeter with plastic tape. The former presence of a tavern where my parents now live, and the restaurant which still serves seafood at the other side of the road, prevented accurate dating.  

the-documents.org
Flint
09:53:20
the-documents.org

In 2020, the print versions of the Flemish telephone books ‘Gouden Gids’ and ‘Witte Gids’ (The Golden Guide and The White Guide), were published for the last time. From that year onwards, the directory could only be accessed and consulted online. The effect of the production of print telephone directories on the environment is considered to be enormous. As yearly updated, ubiquitous books, they were publications that soon turned superfluous. They led to piles of waste.

From the beginning of the 21st century on, both the print version and the online version had been available. This was a period of medium transition. During the last two decades, the print directory increasingly referred to the websites of the companies listed. To search for e.g. someone to inspect the heating installation, it was possible to find such a company’s website via the print directory, and consult the inspector’s services and price online, bypassing search engines such as Google and its complex algorithms. The telephone directory had a thematic and alphabetical order, combined with the possibility to buy additional advertising space. 

the-documents.org
Directory
09:53:56
the-documents.org

At the copyshop, on a shelf above photocopier 8, the lid of a box of paper serves as the container for ‘forgotten originals’.1

1

The book being copied: Didi-Huberman, G. La ressemblance par contact. Archéologie, anachronisme et modernité de l’empreinte. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 2008.

the-documents.org
At the copyshop
09:53:56
the-documents.org

‘ORIGINAL. Rire de tout ce qui est original, le haïr, le bafouer, et l’exterminer si l’on peut.’ 
[‘ORIGINAL. Laugh with everything that’s original, hate it, scold it, exterminate it if you can.’]

Flaubert. Bouvard et Pécuchet (présenté par Raymond Queneau). Paris: Livre de poche, 1959 (with p. 232-233: dried leaf of a ginkgo tree, and p. 324-325: dried leaf of a birch tree), p. 429 [2,00 EUR, Librairie Vic-sur-Cère, August 2021].

the-documents.org
A Bibliographic Reference
09:53:56
the-documents.org

Ten years ago, in November, I drove up to Frisia – the northernmost province of The Netherlands. I was there to document the remains of air watchtowers: a network of 276 towers that were built in the fifties and sixties to warn the troops and population of possible aerial danger coming from the Soviet Union. It was very windy. The camera shook heavily. The poplars surrounding the concrete tower leaned heavily to one side.

I drove up to the seaside, a few kilometers farther. The wind was still strong when I reached the grassy dike that overlooked the kite-filled beach. I exposed the last piece of film left on the roll. Strong gusts of wind blew landwards.

Months later I didn’t bother to blow off the dust that had settled on the film before scanning it. A photograph without use, with low resolution, made for the sake of the archive’s completeness. 

The dust on the film appears to be carried landwards, by the same gust of wind lifting the kites.

the-documents.org
Dust
09:53:57
the-documents.org

Conducting research into the effects on energy consumption of blockchain-based applications such as bitcoin, I was triggered by the fact that many of the facilities making blockchain-mining1 possible are located in Georgia. Low energy prices and a relaxed taxation policy are said to be among the reasons why companies such as Bitfury locate their plants there. 

After a three-day hike in the Caucasus Mountains, on the Georgian side of the border with Chechnya, we are invited to pitch our tent in the garden of Murati, a local farmer in a small mountain village. We are overwhelmed by the scenery and Murati’s hospitality. Many of the villages, thrown on the mountain flanks, have tower-like structures of some twenty meters high, making them all look fortified. They have no windows or doors on the ground floor.2

Murati invites us into his house to drink warm milk with his family and brings us cheese-filled bread. One of us speaks Russian. He inspects our backpacks, headlights and drinking bags. He tells us a 500 kilogram pig of his did not return to the house that night. The family is saddened. 

In the evening, we see him taking his granddaughter by the hand. They walk to the highest point of the gravel road in front of his house and together watch the last light of the day fall on the snow-covered triangular peak of one of the Caucasus’ highest mountains. 

I’m mistrusting my memory and look the passage up in the journal we kept. The village is called Zagar. The mountain is Mount Tetnuldi. The granddaughter’s name is Anna. 

When I click through to one of the websites promising information on Georgia’s blockchain economy, I happen to stumble on a dark web-related website and access is denied.3

1.

‘Mining’ is what is being done when data – a transaction – has to be added to the blockchain (which, in itself, is the sum of all previous transactions, added to each other as data). To do this, computers have to solve a complex mathematical puzzle, which is crucial for the trustworthiness of the system, but for which loads of energy is needed. Criticism on the effects of blockchain-mining is growing, as it has a gruesome effect on resources. In 2018, Andrew North writes, Bitfury used 28 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, equalling the consumption of 120,000 Georgian households.

2.
3.
the-documents.org
This site has been seized
09:53:57
the-documents.org

A mostly empty book designed to collect cigar bands. The bands are glued to the paper at their left side, so the information on the backside, explaining the image and referring to the series it belongs to and the number of different labels the series contains, can be looked up. The book has complete and incomplete series on Christopher Columbus (complete), tanks (incomplete), the origins of civilization (complete), Ancient cultures (incomplete), fashion (complete), South-American sculptures (complete), Ancient columns (incomplete), Nobel Prize Winners (incomplete), an unclarified series of seven men, most of whom are ‘prof.’ or ‘dr.’(complete / incomplete), design plates (incomplete), famous Belgians (complete / incomplete), statesmen (incomplete) and football players (incomplete). The first page in the book is used to present two series. The left column presents the Egyptian dynasty (incomplete). The middle and right column present a series of bands by the brand Jubilé on the history of energy in telling scenes and pieces of machinery. 

Series: Energy

Middle column, top to bottom: 

  • The writing telegraph. Hughes
  • Experiment with a sulphur globe. William Gilbert
  • Primitive telephone. Philipp Reis
  • Wireless telegraph.1 Guglielo [sic] Marconi
  • The arc of Volta. Sir Humphry Davy
  • Fire in the wagon. Thomas Alva Edison
  • Experiments with lightning. Benjamin Franklin
  • Cathode for creating X-Rays. Wilhelm Röntgen
  • Rotating magnetic field. Galileo Ferraris

Right column, top to bottom:

  • Electric discharge. William Watt
  • Magnetic telephone. Antonio Meucci
  • Muscels reacting to electricity. Luigi Galvani
  • Voltaic pile. Alessandro Volta
  • Oscillating circuit. Guglielo [sic] Marconi
  • Development of the telephone. Graham Bell
  • Telephone, beginning of the 20th century
  • Next to his wireless telegraph. Guglielo [sic] Marconi
  • Invention of the incandescent light bulb. Thomas Alva Edison
  • Morse’s telegraph. Samuel Morse

The series is incomplete.2

1

The scene shows a man standing at a desk, sticking out his hand to an officer in a window that reads, in mirror writing: Customs.

2

On eBay a complete series is advertised (15 EUR), with a lo-res picture of the whole collection, including the five bands missing in my grandfather’s collection. The information on the back, however, is not given. It leads to a highly speculative history of energy. 

A man in a gown watching a T-shaped object.

A child in a cellar, sitting on a stool at a table with gray objects.

A soldier kneeling beside a child, in front of a train, and in front of a boat.

A low table with a giant cartwheel of sorts and a box.

A vertical object with what seems to be a bell on top.

the-documents.org
A smoker’s history of energy
09:53:57
the-documents.org

The Sedum reflexum grows on rocky soils and in crevices of walls. In L’herbier classique, it is depicted in two ways, just like the other plants in the book. This double portraiture is important, the author states in the introduction: ‘one consists of the reproductions of the photographs taken by the author of this book […]; the other, drawings made by excellent artists who observed the plants themselves, showing details photography can’t reproduce, highlighting aspects the photographs leave untouched. […] From this double representation, interesting comparisons can be made, highly enlightening from an artistic point of view, between the realistic aspect of nature’s “productions”  and the interpretation thereof by the draftsman’ (5).

A detail not covered by the drawing of the sedum reflexum, is the presence of other species in the vicinity of the plant, a detail shown in the photograph and described in the caption: ‘The Common houseleek grows on the same rocks, with its rosette of leaves pretending to be an artichoke’ (59).

the-documents.org
Pretending to be an artichoke
09:53:57
the-documents.org

Article 75 of the Royal Decree containing general regulations for road traffic and the use of public roads, published in Het Belgisch Staatsblad on 9 December 1975, lists the rules for longitudinal markings indicating the edge of the roadway.

According to 75.1, there are two types of markings that indicate the actual edge of the roadway: a white, continuous stripe and a yellow interrupted line. The former is mainly used to make the edge of the roadway more visible; the latter indicates that parking along it is prohibited.

In 75.2, the decree focuses on markings that indicate the imaginary edge of the roadway. Only a broad, white, continuous stripe is permitted for this purpose. The part of the public road on the other side of this line is reserved for standing still and parking, except on motorways and expressways.

https://wegcode.be/wetteksten/secties/kb/wegcode/262-art75

the-documents.org
The Imaginary Edge of the Roadway
09:53:58
the-documents.org

Most mornings I eat three slices of bread. I stack them. Between the highest slice and the one in the middle I put a slice of cheese (young Gouda). I put the whole in the microwave1 for 1 minute and 50 seconds. The result is what I like to call a smelteram2. 

On the morning of my thirty-second birthday the plate broke in half during heating.

1
2

A contraction of smelten (Dutch for melting) and boterham (Dutch for a slice of bread).

the-documents.org
Birthday Omen
09:53:58
the-documents.org

The oldest coin in the collection has darkened over time, but upon inspection, the text ‘AD USUM BELGII AUSTR’ (left) and the contours of a (female) head (right) can be discerned. A quick search learns it stems from the middle of the 18th century. The coin was made and used in the Austrian Netherlands, reigned by Maria Theresa, who is the one depicted. My mother recollects finding it in the backyard when she was a kid.

About 40 years later, the euro was introduced. The ringbinder with my mother’s coin collection was taken from the shelf. A dilemma came to the fore: we wondered if we should keep one of each existing Belgian coin and banknote and put them in the binder, alongside Maria Theresa, or if we should exchange them for the new European currency. The decision to keep a coin of five Belgian francs was not difficult to make, but as the amount raised, the answer was increasingly hard to give. This was an assessment of the old currency’s emotional and projected historical value, compared to its current financial worth. It was a decision based on investment principles. 

To accentuate the value of the Maria Theresa kronenthaler of 1 liard, I put the coin on a pile of red post-it-notes when photographing it. Coins like these are sold on eBay for prices ranging from 0,70 euros to 16 euros.

the-documents.org
Investment
09:53:58
the-documents.org
Investment
09:53:58
the-documents.org

Today I brought an old bedspring, the styrofoam the air-humidifier came in, a few bags of sawdust and some scrap pieces of plywood to the municipal recycling center. As I was waiting to mount the stairs to the scrap metal container, a gray-haired man wearing blue leather shoes, dark jeans and a checkered shirt was tipping – with relative ease – a weight bench over the edge of the container.

the-documents.org
Weight Bench
09:53:58
the-documents.org

It’s early spring. The pool is covered with a sheet of plastic. The deciduous trees are just leafing out. A tree stump serves as a placeholder for the diving board’s foot – it was customary to take it indoors for winter – and keeps people from kicking its threaded rods sticking up from the silex tiles that line the pool. 

The upper right corner of the plastic frame is missing. It’s probably where the insect – now dead, dry and yellowish – got in. The frame was left behind in the laundry room overlooking the garden, the pool and the pool house. At the time it hadn’t been used for quite a while. Half empty, the water green.

In summer, when the wind dropped, horse-flies came. You could shake them off temporarily by swimming a few meters underwater.

the-documents.org
A Dead Insect on the Trunk of a Cedrus Atlantica Glauca
09:53:59
the-documents.org

This is the spread one sees upon opening the bird field guide that once stood, as the stamp indicates, in the library of a psychiatric institution.1 It shows birds’ silhouettes, as they can be seen beside the road.

The drawing has a kind of Hitchcock feel to it.2 The birds seem to be spying on each other, as they also seem to be spying on the unsuspecting passer-by. 

The composition of the scene is marvelous. The electric wires, the tree, the wire fence, the double framed list with the birds’ names, handsomely positioned in a birdless patch, at once superimposed on the telephone wires, and pushed to the background by the skylark.

Imagine seeing this scene. What are the odds: to see the silhouettes of Europe’s twenty most common species of birds in one glance, from your car’s window, as you are driving home at dusk.

Before closing the book, the last spread seems to show the birds fleeing, maybe attacking.3

1

The stamp indicates that, at the psychiatric institution, the book was part of the sublibrary for the Catholic Brothers of Charity. The crossed-out part indicates that there was also a separate physicians’ library, to which the book might have originally belonged.

2

On the web, discussions on whether Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963) was shot in colour or in black and white, abound. 

3

Peterson, R.T., Mountfort, G. & P.A.D. Hollom. Vogelgids voor alle in ons land en overig Europa voorkomende vogelsoorten (J. Kist, transl.). 3d ed. Amsterdam/Brussels: Elsevier, 1955. 

the-documents.org
The Birds
09:53:59
the-documents.org

Holding two cans of spray paint, a city employee walks through a sweet chestnut grove on the graveyard. He’s looking for potholes.

the-documents.org
Potholes
09:53:59