The term Atlas rings perhaps more familiar in the German language than it does in English, being defined since the end of the sixteenth century as a book format that complies and organizes geographical and astronomical knowledge. We are told that this format received its name from one of Mercator’s map collections in the 1585 which carried a frontispiece showing an image of Atlas, the titan of Greek mythology who holds up the universe at the threshold where day and night meet each other. But later, in the nineteenth century, the term had been increasingly deployd to identify and tabular display of systematized knowledge and one could have encountered an atlas in almost every field of of the empirical sciences: an atlas of astronomy, of anatomy, geography and ethnography, and titan who held up the heavens. When the confidence in empiricism and the aspiration towards comprehensive completeness of positivist systems of knowledge withered in the twentieth century, the term ‘Atlas’  seems to have fallen into a more metaphorical usage.

Benjamin H.D. Buchoh in Gerhard Richter’s Atlas: The Atomic archive, 1993


Atlas Sheet: 11

Atlas Sheet: 11

“Memory is thus conceived of Richter’s Atlas first of all as an archaeology of pictorial and photographic registers, each of which partakes in a different photographic formation, and each of which generates its proper psychic register of responses. While all of them operate separately (and in relative independence from each other) in the perceptual and the mnemonic apparatus of the subject, they all intersect, constituting precisely that complex field of disavowals and displacements, the field of repression and cover images within which memory is constituted in the register of photographic order.”

Benjamin H. D. Bucholoh in The Archive, Charles Merewether, 2006

Der Bilderatlas MNEMOSYNE – Aby Warburg



The atlas is fundamentally the attempt to combine the philosophical with the image-historical approach. Attached on wooden boards covered with black cloth are photographs of images, reproductions from books, and visual materials from newspapers and/or daily life, which Warburg arranges in such a way that they illustrate one or several thematic areas. Only the boards of the picture atlas have survived as photographed ensembles. Throughout the years since 1924, Warburg’s picture collection of circa 2,000 reproductions generated other configurations fixed and photographed on boards. In addition, specific themes were reconfigured for individual exhibitions or lectures. The last existing series originally consisted of 63 tableaus.
Today, Warburg’s working style would be categorized as researching ‹visual clusters›. Only these are not ordered according to visual similarity, evident in the sense of an iconographic history of style; but rather through relationships caused by an ‹affinity for one another› and the principle of ‹good company,› which let themselves be reconstructed through the study of texts (as for example, contract conditions or biological associations).

Rudolf Frieling

Lost Formats Preservation Society


The society was founded in 2000 by Experimental Jetset with the design of Emigre issue no. 57. It’s sole purpose is to save formats from obscurity.


«Internet Mapping Project»


Internet mapping project

The map of the Internet topology by Hal Burch and Bill Cheswick shows the structure of the Internet from December 2000, representing nearly 100,000 network nodes. This highly complex spatialisation takes several hours to generate on a typical PC. The layout algorithm uses simple rules, with forces of attraction and repulsion jostling the nodes into a stable, legible configuration. There are many permutations in the algorithm to generate different layouts and colour-codings of the links according to different criteria (such as network ownership, country).

by Martin Dodge

The Art of Memory


“Few people know that the Greeks, who invented many arts, invented the art of memory which, like their other arts, was passed on to Rome whence it descended in the European tradition. This art seeks to memorize through a technique of impressing “places” and “images” on memory. It has usually been classed as “mnemotechnics”, which in modern times seems a rather unimportant branch of human activity. But in the age before printing a trained memory was vitally important; and the manipulation of images in memory must always to some extent involve the psyche as a whole.”

Frances Yates in Sub-Urbanism and the Art of Memory, Sébastien Marot, 2003

Memory Theater


Memory Walkthrough, Giulio Camillo (Inicios do séc. XVI)

Memory Theater, Giulio Camillo (ínicio do séc. XVI)

Texto Original


“Will there be comdominiums in the data space?”, Bill Viola

The interesting thing about idea spaces and memory systems is that they presuppose the existence of some sort of place, either real or graphic, which has its own structure and architecture. There is always a whole space, which already exists in its entirety, onto which ideas and images can be mapped, using only that portion of the space needed.