Cornelia Vismann, from Files:
Those who work with records are familiar with the problem: files pile up on desks, accumulate in offices, and fill attics and basements. Though registered, their order collapses time and again; though collected, quashed, dispatched, sold, shredded, or destroyed in some other way, they keep mushrooming. Their incessant proliferation seems a natural phenomenon. Masses of paper arise and merge into mountains that join together to form entire mountain ranges. Floods of paper empty into oceans: ravines flanked by shelves cut through impassable terrain. Those brave enough to traverse this paperscape measure the amount of files in meters, kilograms, or basket loads. As a rule, however, it is impossible to count the number of files, for unlike books, files are not discrete or enumerable units. They can appear in all shapes and forms: as loose pages, lying in little boxes, wrapped in packing paper, or enclosed in capsules; they may present themselves as bundles tied with a string or assume the shape of vertical folders ready to enfold anything that can fit between two paper covers. Reference may be to a single file, a procedure covering several files, or the entire content of an archive. Files are the variabIes in thc universe of writing and the law.