Wednesday 1 June 2011


I think we need a card on Clement of Alexandria and the term eranisteon itself. Maybe just text but maybe text + image?

Tuesday 31 May 2011


Another card needs to relate to the Plaquemine siren and, hence, more broadly to the river trip.

Sunday 29 May 2011


It was great to talk yesterday and one thing I wanted to do today was start the process of collecting ideas for the eighteen cards. I've set up 'cards' as a new label for posts and, in this one, I'll just repeat something we said yesterday:

Kafka's story, 'Silence of the Sirens', needs to be among the materials available through the cards.

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...

Thursday 24 February 2011

Music for Bicycles

I am perhaps slightly re-inventing the wheel (groan) by considering music for bicycle wheels: a quick internet search uncovered "Eine Brise", by Mauricio Kagel, and "Travelon Gamelon" by Richard Lerman. Here's a review of a performance of the Kagel last year in Los Angeles. Both of these pieces involved multiple bicyclists actually riding the streets, a lovely idea, no?! This stationary bicycle wheel roulette/altar is quite different, of course, more about the connection of wheels and spindles, necessary and otherwise....

Gopnik on Information

I thought this was interesting regarding our eranisteon, it's from an article about how the internet is changing us (yawn), but it's by Adam Gopnik, so it's better than average on the subject.

In her book “Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age,” [the Harvard historian Ann Blair] makes the case that what we’re going through is like what others went through a very long while ago. Against the cartoon history of Shirky or Tooby, Blair argues that the sense of “information overload” was not the consequence of Gutenberg but already in place before printing began. She wants us to resist “trying to reduce the complex causal nexus behind the transition from Renaissance to Enlightenment to the impact of a technology or any particular set of ideas.” Anyway, the crucial revolution was not of print but of paper: “During the later Middle Ages a staggering growth in the production of manuscripts, facilitated by the use of paper, accompanied a great expansion of readers outside the monastic and scholastic contexts.” For that matter, our minds were altered less by books than by index slips. Activities that seem quite twenty-first century, she shows, began when people cut and pasted from one manuscript to another; made aggregated news in compendiums; passed around prĂ©cis. “Early modern finding devices” were forced into existence: lists of authorities, lists of headings.

(my emphasis: source here)