Warburg's Mnemosyne Atlas
Aby Warburg was an art historian, but he was also interested in how historians researched art and so set up his own library; this was organised in a very unique way, not by subject or alphabetically but by affinities that only he was able to explain in any detail. His big unfinished project was the Mnemosyne Atlas which was an extension of his strange and different library classification scheme. As you can see from the images below he created panels covered in black cloth to which he pinned photographs and postcards. A visual research board where certain paintings related to each other; where images had relationships with each other that they might not otherwise have had.
These boards were always only meant to be the start of the project, eventually he wanted to create some kind of book to explain his theories. This never happened as he died and then the boards were lost when his colleagues were fleeing the Nazi's; as with Kurt Schwitters' lifelong project the Merzbau, only the photographs remain.
While working on this BAO project I have been drawn back to Warburg's project and the way it shows how a researcher thinks and works; making connections between seemingly unrelated images, events, theories, ideas etc... So as a 'page' of this archive book I want to stage a photograph of Miss Emma Robinson, my made up researcher at her research desk, behind the desk will be her research wall, looking very similar to one of Warburg's Mnemosyne panels. Here it is so far; I am building it up in my studio as we speak: