What happens when we safeguard our past or keep a record of our present? We may not always be cognisant of it, but archiving is present in every aspect of our lives. We are constantly gathering and preserving documents, images, ingredients, objects, materials, experiences and ideas, all of which shape who we are and how others understand us. From research to documentation, archiving is fundamental to every step of the design and creation process. It informs our decision-making, pushes us to reflect on our influences and allows us to build on the histories we belong to and the futures we are creating. With increasing climate disasters, political instability and the precarity of the digital world, the vulnerability of our belongings is a reminder of the necessity of archiving, a practice that breathes life into our legacies.
The theme for our fourth issue is archiving and design. Since Liwan is an archival project at heart, it is only fitting that the theme for our fourth and final issue of this year’s Al Journal is ‘Design and Archiving’, a look at the many forms of archiving, the power of this practice in visually preserving heritage and its importance in shaping the future of design in the region, from literature and lettering to architecture, community and culture.