Saturday, 5 March 2011

archives of images

I'm reading a really fascinating book called "The Art of Memory" by Frances Yates, which traces ancient Greek techniques of "artificial memory" through European history. In the medieval chapter, there's talk of a 14th century English friar by the name of Robert Holcot:

Holcot's Moralitates are a collection of material for the use of preachers in which the 'picture' [memory] technique is lavishly used....He places such images, in imagination, on the pages of a Scriptural text, to remind him of how he will comment on the text. On a page of the prophet Hosea he imagines the figure of Idolatry to remind him of how he will expand Hosea's mention of that sin. He even places on the text of the prophet an image of Cupid, complete with bow and arrows! The god of love and his attributes are, of course, moralised by the friar, and the 'moving' pagan image is used as a memory image for his moralising expansion of the text.

The preference of these English friars for the fables of the poets as memory images, as allowed by Albertus Magnus, suggests that the artificial memory may be a hitherto unsuspected medium through which pagan imagery survived in the Middle Ages. (pp. 98-99)
Something about pagan doodles on the pages of Hosea seems connected to our project in some odd way I haven't yet thought through, but I thought I'd post it here.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

bicycle of necessity

I like that you're thinking of the strange 14th-street device as BOTH a bicycle AND as the wheel of necessity! The fact that the wheel of destiny is made out of a dismantled bicycle alludes to the importance of real physical movement in our project and connects the two places where we meet the sirens: in the abstract space of Plato's cosmology as well as in the topography of Odysseus' mythical journey.

(Bleugh - what I've just written reads like one of the terrible little texts you see on the walls in galleries of contemporary art - I think the sentiment is right though, so I'll leave it up!)

Odysseus on his bicycle...