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Workshop | "Illustration" and the Arts of Memory

Nov 09, 2022 - Nov 11, 2022

Organised by Sergius Kodera (Universität Wien), Anita Traninger (Freie Universität Berlin/EXC 2020) and Luca Lil Wirth (Freie Universität Berlin/EXC 2020), project "Arts of Memory", Research Area 1: "Competing Communities".

The workshop aims at reconsidering the old, but increasingly unhelpful dichotomy of text and illustration by seeking to derive a new understanding of text-image-relations from the historical arts of memory. It is organised in the context of the »Arts of Memory« project at the Cluster of Excellence »Temporal Communities« which explores historical arts of memory as transtemporal and transcultural modes of community building. The project starts from the assumption that cultural "arts" such as mnemotechnics, rhetoric, writing or translation are decisive for the genesis of temporal communities, along with non-verbal or trans-linguistic modes of communication (performative, artistic, institutional, technological). The project's focus is on the art of memory as it was originally developed in Roman rhetoric and then productively recast in the early modern period. The project will thus investigate how an originally radically individualised instrument of rhetorical preparation came to be forged into an effective communicative tool in conjunction with an intermedial literary practice and how this practice could remain productive across the arts and well into the modern era, spawning an array of arts of memory.

One of the project's aims is, therefore, to demonstrate the close correspondances between emergent literary and artistic genres and mnemonics in the early modern period. Another is to develop a more general theoretical perspective: the concept of imago agens will serve as a vantage point from which we will critically reflect on the notion of assemblage or agencement (from agencer – to lay out, to arrange – in Deleuze and Guattari's original French). We will explore how this concept can underwrite the study of the intricate relationship between literature, performing and visual arts and its role in community building. The guiding hypothesis is that the art of memory could serve as a blue-print for an intermedial conception of literature as a practice between the arts in a transcultural and transtemporal perspective.

Early modern treatises on the ars memorativa emphasize the crucial function of vivid and (usually) visual imagery. Indeed, many masters of medieval and early modern mnemonics recommended the use and development of striking images (imagines agentes) in the faculty of imagination that had to be assigned fixed places (loci) in order to organize the memory.

Many of these treatises seem to conceive of these imagines agentes as empty containers which could be used to store any kind of memorandum. Yet, to what extent is such a neat dissociation of imago and content feasible? It is actually a formidable problem to determine the extent to which these imagines agentes relate to the contents that have to be remembered (memorandum) – or instance when, as it happened in Giovan Battista Della Porta's Ars reminiscendi, an erotic image serves to denote similar affective states of mind.

On a different plane, the case of Giordarno Bruno's mnemonics the scholarly world of the twentieth century has already conducted such a debate. In her seminal study, Frances Yates had maintained that Bruno's imagines did not merely function as conventional placeholders, but rather the concise expression of the intended memoranda; in Bruno's case, these would be basic constituents of a magical philosophy of an animistic infinite universe. In a series of detailed study of Bruno's intricate mnemonic systems, Sturlese has denied Yate's claims, arguing for a mere conventional application of Brunian arts of memory, yet both positions have been qualified in more recent years (Bolzoni, Clucas, Mertens).

The organizers of the workshop believe that the question of the relation between imagines agentes and memoranda is not merely pertinent to mnemotechnics, but actually needs to be examined in a broader scope, as an important stage in the development of modern culture. We suspect that the combination of words and images in mnemonics is a harbinger of productive tensions, the consequences of which we wish to explore further, for instance in connection with the development of new literary forms, visual art and architectures.

Participants are invited to reflect on the relationship between imago and memorandum, between illustration and text in late medieval and early modern literature in the broadest sense and their interplay between fields including literary fiction, in particular with a view to the emergence of new genres.


Wednesday, 9 November 2022

15:30 | Coffee & Check-in

15:45 | Anita Traninger and Sergius Kodera: Welcome and Introduction

Chair: Anita Traninger (Freie Universität Berlin)

16:00 | Sergius Kodera (Universität Wien): The Imago of Pan: Mnemonics and Classical Myth in Francis Bacon’s De sapientia veterum (1607)

17:00 | Stephen Clucas (Birkbeck, University of London): Statues, Images, and Memory: The Visible and the Knowable in Giordano Bruno’s Art of Memory

19:00 | Dinner

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Chair: Sergius Kodera (Universität Wien)

09:30 | Bernhard Huss (Freie Universität Berlin): Image Instead of Text: On the Disempowerment of the Author through Illustration (On the Emblematization of Petrarch’s De remediis since 1532)

10:30 | Nicolas Longinotti (Freie Universität Berlin): Volatile Interpretations: Birds as imagines agentes in Grifo’s Illustrations to Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta

11:30 | Coffee & Tea

12:00 | Luigina Rubini Messerli (Universität Zürich): Velázquez’ Las Meninas: More Questions Than Answers? The Painter and the Female Dwarf

13:00 | Lunch

Chair: Karin Gludovatz (Freie Universität Berlin)

14:30 | Luca Lil Wirth (Freie Universität Berlin): The Text-Image Relationship in Early Modern Parodies on German ‘Praktiken’

15:30 | Ann Marie Rasmussen (University of Waterloo): Medieval Badges: Visual Communication and Community Formation

16:30 | Coffee & Tea

17:00 | Volkhard Wels (Freie Universität Berlin): Mnemonic Imagery in Sixteenth-Century Alchemy

19:00 | Dinner

Friday, 11 November 2022

Chair: Nicolas Longinotti (Freie Universität Berlin)

09:30 | Marlen Bidwell-Steiner (Universität Wien): How to Become an Ideal Courtier in 63 Playful Moves: The Filosofía cortesana moralizada by Alonso Barros (1587)

10:30 | François Quiviger (The Warburg Institute): From Tableaux Vivants to Moving Images: Early Modern Festivals and the Art of Memory

11:30 | Coffee & Tea

12:00 | ENTFÄLLT -– Anne Eusterschulte (Freie Universität Berlin): Initial Illuminations: Intermedial Memorial Techniques in Late Medieval Book Illumination – ENTFÄLLT

13:00 | Lunch

Chair: Luca Lil Wirth (Freie Universität Berlin)

14:30 | Anita Traninger (Freie Universität Berlin): The Patron Saint of Imagination and the Problem of Illustration: Saint Anthony between Image and Text

15:30 | Anna Degler (Freie Universität Berlin): What’s in a Name? Or: Not Thinking About a Saw

16:30 | Coffee & Tea

17:00 | Andrea Marie Frisch (University of Maryland): Naturalizing Artificial Memory: The Rhetoric of Transparency in the Protestant Martyrologies of Jean Crespin

18:00 | Concluding remarks

Contact & registration

Luca Lil Wirth (Freie Universität Berlin), luca.wirth@fu-berlin.de

Time & Location

Nov 09, 2022 - Nov 11, 2022

Freie Universität Berlin
Exzellenzcluster "Temporal Communities"
Room 00.05
Otto-von-Simson-Straße 15
14195 Berlin