Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas & Other Warburg Inspirations

Cornell University Library | The Warburg Institute | Cornell University Press | Signale

Ten panels from the Mnemosyne Atlas

The last project of the German Jewish “cultural scientist” Aby M. Warburg (1866-1929), the Mnemosyne Atlas is an unfinished attempt to map the pathways that give art history and cosmography their pathos-laden meanings. Warburg thought this visual, metaphoric encyclopedia, with its constellations of symbolic images, would animate the viewer’s memory, imagination, and understanding of what he called “the afterlife of antiquity.”

Music inspired by Aby Warburg:

Il ruvido dettaglio celebrato da Aby Warburg (The rough detail celebrated by Aby Warburg): II. Teso, curando bene i dettagli
Mdi Ensemble


Page-Shot-2016-11-4 Nick Benson with Jason Wallengren.png

Nick Benson with Jason Wallengren

The Postmemory Project – Correspondence Series

This email correspondence between Nick Benson and Jason Wallengren was started in July 2013 and finished in March 2014. It was first published in August 2014 as a printed pamphlet.

Kaya Behkalam



Kaya Behkalam, Mikala Hyldig Dal, 2009
3x3m, 4 synchronized video projections, HD Video, 8 Channel Sound installation
(in collaboration with Cetin Güzelhan, comissioned for the exhibition “Istanbul Modern Berlin / Istanbul Next Wave” at Martin Gropius Bau Berlin, Sounddesign J. Martin)

“Atlas” is a progressing image research of iconic quotes ranging from the Kaaba in Mecca to Malevichs’ Black Square, from the alignment of the Central perspective to the vaulting lines of Turkish-Arab Calligraphy, a meditation on the reciprocity of iconisation and iconoclasm the central momentum of “modernity” and a subject of non-European cultures for centuries beforehand.
A cubic video installation presents 4 image catalogues ordered in the subdivisions “Ornament”, “Iconoclasm”, “Projections” and “Perspectives” derived from 500 years of cultural history on 4 projected canvases.
Images from Istanbul Archives and icons of Western art history are placed alongside (self)stagings of contemporary artists and visual findings from various sources and interwoven in the thematic image-carpets.

Inspired by the Image atlas Mnemosyne by Aby Warburg the continuously changing Imageflow of the installation offers a perspective on East-Western Image(his)stories and history constructions that renders visible potential and associative relations while grasping the concept of modernity as a non-linear, reciprocal and continuous process.

Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art

Front CoverBecoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art

Duke University Press, Sep 12, 2011Science264 pages
In Becoming Undone, Elizabeth Grosz addresses three related concepts—life, politics, and art—by exploring the implications of Charles Darwin’s account of the evolution of species. Challenging characterizations of Darwin’s work as a form of genetic determinism, Grosz shows that his writing reveals an insistence on the difference between natural selection and sexual selection, the principles that regulate survival and attractiveness, respectively. Sexual selection complicates natural selection by introducing aesthetic factors and the expression of individual will, desire, or pleasure. Grosz explores how Darwin’s theory of sexual selection transforms philosophy, our understanding of humanity in its male and female forms, our ideas of political relations, and our concepts of art. Connecting the naturalist’s work to the writings of Bergson, Deleuze, and Irigaray, she outlines a postmodern Darwinism that understands all of life as forms of competing and coordinating modes of openness. Although feminists have been suspicious of the concepts of nature and biology central to Darwin’s work, Grosz proposes that his writings are a rich resource for developing a more politicized, radical, and far-reaching feminist understanding of matter, nature, biology, time, and becoming.

Chasing Ghosts

From Enda’s Blog:

Latton National School, Co. Monaghan 1941
Latton National School, Co. Monaghan 1941

Contemporary ruins can provoke an unusual emotional response that is difficult define. A familiar environment that has fallen into decay can be both unsettling and intriguing, inspiring fascination and fear as a tangible reminder of the scale of your own lifetime. Kate Brown talks of the concept of ‘rustalgia’ in her book Dispatches from Dystopia: Histories of Places Not Yet Forgotten (2014). For her, while some people speak of their ‘lustful’ attraction to such sites, ‘others will speak in mournful tones of what is lost, what she calls rustalgia.’

November Process Blog

A few notes on my process…

I was really struggling with how to manage/store/categorize/track/organize such a huge number of invisible things… Although the “things” don’t take any physical space, they did take up a great deal of mental space – and clearly more than any one human could hold in one’s head.

So I decided to create an inventory of what I had so far, and to start entering the ideas/words for the invisible things into a spreadsheet program . This would allow me to efficiently track the quantity, alphabetize & eliminate any duplicates of the invisible things in my collection. (I used Google docs so that I could add to the list from wherever I was – in case ideas came to me at work, I could quickly log in and add the items to the list online rather than into a database that lived only on my computer).

I then transferred each word or idea collected onto an index card and put it into a little black file box specifically devoted to the collection of 1,000 invisible things.

So far, I have a little over 800 items in the collection.

It was interesting to me to discover that although I was really excited about getting the 1,000 index cards and a nice black box in the mail for organizing my items, I felt incredibly ambivalent about copying out the individual words onto the index cards… I realized, that part of the problem was that I didn’t feel connected to the words I was writing onto the cards and putting in the box, because many of the words I had in my spreadsheet had been sourced from online lists of “abstract nouns” rather than from my own thoughts, conversations and discoveries.

Hence, I have only copied out the words up to the letter “I” – so probably only about one third of what I have on my list so far…

Here are a few photographs…

A few thoughts…

I’ve looked at a number of different ways of amassing and categorizing these items, and have found it both fascinating and challenging to come up with a system that also aligns with what I most desire to discover by swimming in this world of the unseen – which is to take a deep dive into the sea of ideas about invisibility – specifically around issues of feeling invisible at times and wishing to be invisible at other times. This interests me primarily because that was my experience growing up and continues still today – there were times when I felt completely unseen, unprotected, and as if I didn’t count for anything, and other times when I wished I could be invisible in order to escape the sexual advances of my step-father and other men in my surroundings.

Initially this grew out of a curiosity about what the similarities and differences would be between my personal experiences and the experiences of people from different parts of the world and in different circumstances. Isn’t it possible that a South American illegal immigrant might want to be utterly invisible as he or she crosses the boarder between the US and Mexico, but might not want to be invisible when the Capo is looking for people to hire for the day. Isn’t it likely that my own black nephew would want to be seen and recognized for his achievements, kindness, and integrity, yet be afraid of being hassled or even killed by police if he was pulled over on his way home?

I wanted to see how far out these similarities and differences would extend beyond the personal and into broader social and political realms.

Now, with the terrifying election results in the US, coupled with the unbridled hate that is making itself known here and around the world in a big way,  I am sure that any person of color might not want to stand out and be seen by those filled with venom, bigotry and hate, yet he might want to stand up and be heard and seen, while also being respected and protected.

What is happening right now in the United States has narrowed down what could have been a wide range of entry points, to just a few correlating elements that I want to examine further.

One of the main reasons I chose this topic was so that I could keep diving in to these deep waters of the unseen, in order to explore other regions… Who knows where it will all lead…






On Trump: an Open Letter to the Brokenhearted

In case you haven’t seen it, this is a moving and apt piece for the day that I just had to share.

On Trump: an Open Letter to the Brokenhearted      By Adebayo Akomolafe

I want to invite us to slow down and pay attention to the stark grief that haunts us now. She stares us in the face, this repulsive visitor. If we must survive, we must return her gaze and let her do her important work with us.

…In one fell swoop, it felt like America, the so-called home of the brave was exactly that: a place dyed in fear, where braveness would now be required to keep on living.

In an all-too-real case of “be careful what you wish for”, I find not relief but a painful sympathy with many who had hoped that the morning of 9th would somehow usher in a more tolerant America. A more beautiful country. A country that cares about its many colours and contours. Now because of Trump and the energies he has activated, minorities are probably less safe. At a time of unprecedented racial tensions and phallic exhibitions of gunmanship, some folks are already dreading their next brief visit to the shopping mall, knowing that the streets are now being painted red with hate, white with racial acrimony and blind nativism, and blue with the authoritarian aloofness of a candidate who promised ‘law and order’. The new America.

Life isn’t a highway but an ecology of small things and ordinary becomings

The sacred is awkwardly closer than you think

Worshipping Lali ~ From Bayo Akomolafe’s site:

“According to one account I have since lost touch of, people were fond of seeing ‘comets’ as angels on errand. Halley’s shocking prediction thus became a line drawn in the sand, because if he was right, then what use did people have of a creator ‘God’? Could God himself and the vanishingly little space science had allocated to him (now in the heavens) be totally snuffed out? How do we meet the sacred if it is nowhere to be found – totally exiled by the regular?”

SlussenProject, Archiving the ephemeral

SlussenProject aimed at building an extensive audio database of stories, memories and field recordings characterizing the Slussen area in Stockholm and in particular its unknown and invisible dimensions. The realization of the project has been maintained over six months between December 2012 and May 2013, when the process of demolishing was planned to begin.The collection of sounds is manifested through a multitude of means such as interviews, field recording and on-site interventions. The final outcome – a methodologically developed sound archive – will be eventually brought back into the new layout in an unobtrusive m anner such as in-situ placement of QR (quick response) codes, mobile and locative technology.

Sound installation based on eight selected soundscapes from Slussen/Stockholm was presented in October 2013 at the Medborgarplatsen Library in Stockholm.Exhibition in collaboration with Polska Institutet, Intercult and Medborgarplatsen Biblioteket. Photos by Polska Institutet. Read more about the project under SlussenProject, Archiving the ephemeral

Museum of Forgotten Things (in WRJ)

(AKA) Main Street Museum

How is it I never knew about this place???

Curiosities Collection ~ Live Event Venue ~ Community Space

White River Junction Tourism: 7 Things to Do in White River Junction ...

The Main Street Museum is a small, public collection of curiosities and artifacts, each one of which is significant and each one of which tells some kind of story about human beings and the complex—sometimes baffling—universe we are a part of.

Through the study of an accumulation of small details, the aim of the Museum is to cultivate among both specialists, and among the general public, a sense of wonder at the big questions that arise when we study and categorize objects and our reactions to them. We believe that our relationships with objects are more complex than usually acknowledged; indeed sometimes far more complex.

We are an ongoing, alternative experiment in material culture studies.  The Main Street Museum is a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation.

Main Street Museum is located in downtown White River Junction at 58 Bridge Street, opposite Railroad Row, near the underpass.  Parking is conveniently located adjacent to the rear of the Museum building on the White-riverside.

May It Please You! 

25 Years The Main Street Museum
December 1992 – December 2017