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archival note

The finder of Archive Box 110-989 wrote the essay above. PJLeese is, or at least claims to be, an archivist, artist and historian who came across the box on a research trip to a housing estate on the outskirts of Kraków in June 2022. The essay appears to date from autumn 2022, although this is not certain.


According to PJLeese, the box was found at the back of an old wardrobe abandoned on the street along with various other items of furniture next to a municipal recycling and garbage station. The provenance of the box is unclear and inquiries in the neighbourhood revealed no clues as to who might have made the box or its contents. Some neighbours did state however that at one time in the early 1990s a few eccentric artists had occupied one of the flats nearby, and that one or more was most likely responsible for the box.


The box and its contents (together with the essay) was generously donated by PJLeese to the local municipal library where I am the current custodian. The box remains on display in the lobby as a curiosity. It may have some greater significance as a document of local life in the district in the later 1980s and early 1990s, as the author of the essay maintains, but none of the usual repositories or galleries has shown any interest in preserving or housing the box. That means I am stuck with it.


The essay, like the box itself has a number of inconsistencies, not to say peculiarities, which also call into question who wrote it, when and where it came into being, and what purposes it might serve. As current custodian of the archive, I can see that the essay bears some similarities to the archive itself. Both are highly speculative, inconsistent and anachronistic, if somewhat informative documents of their time and place. In the case of PJLeese’s essay there are various attempts to contextualize as well as suggestions on the origins and meaning of the box and its contents. It is for readers to decide what--if anything--to make of all this.


In my view the archive itself is dubious in origin and altogether questionable. Nor do PJLeese’s comments add up to much. There is also the open question of whether the author subsequently added some of his own materials into the box, or indeed invented the whole thing in an attempt to make his argument (such as it is) more persuasive. Some degree of forgery or intervention certainly seems likely in the case of the final image in the essay, which is not named or explained, and which seems to have only tenuous connection to the rest of the contents.


Viewers of the archive and readers of the essay are encouraged to exercise extreme caution in judging the authenticity, and possibly the rationality, of both the original artist or artists as well as PJLeese’s opinions. 


Nevertheless, one or both may be of scholarly or artistic value. (Librarian)   

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