m n e m o s y n e
by evelin stermitz

m n e m o s y n e - is to built up by photographs a constant personal memory of reality, experienced time and impressions which are even re-remembering to other memories. A constantly experience of reality in pictures with the focus on representing memory on the internet as a double functioning media system by using photography as a media and present photographs afterwards on the internet. Inherent is the function of photographs as a memory media of unrepeatable time whilst the net has rather a storing and publishing function.
Most important questions of the project are about MEMORY. Why do we have a memory and how does it function? What parts in life do we select for our memory? Does it function in words, pictures or feelings? Why do we loose parts of memory while other remain? Why do people have different memories of the same situation? How can we get rid of memories? Is it actually possible to represent memory by photographs?
This is an ongoing project started in January 2006 by submitting constantly pictures out of my memory. And probably the mind shots will remind you to different circumstances than mine.

Some texts about  m n e m o s y n e

m n e m o s y n e - mother of the Muse
(text belonging to the greek mythology link by Carlos Prada)

Golden-robed Mnemosyne is Memory.

Mnemosyne's gifts
This Titaness of beautiful hair discovered the uses of the power of reason, and gave a designation to every object, which is of the utmost importance, since without names very little could be expressed, and mortals would not be able to hold conversations with each other. But above all, she made available to them the power to remember, a great faculty upon which rest many others.

Knowing oneself and others

For if someone were deprived of the gift of Memory, he would neither know who he is nor what he is. And if he happened to be given this knowledge, he could not retain it, and each moment would appear before him as if it were the first instant of his life, feeling, thinking, and acting much like a newborn.

Then if Memory came to him so that he could remember who he is and what he normally does, but did not assist him in other regards, he would not, for example, be able to recognize other people. Accordingly, he would have to make the acquaintance of his loved ones every new instant of his life, incapable of remembering either names or faces, or how he is related to them. Consequently, the meaning of such words as 'mother', or 'son', or 'wife' would have to be explained to him over and over again, and there would be no hope that he would retain what he is told. For, deprived of Memory, he would not be able to learn anything permanently.

Organizes Time in the human mind

Now, if Memory would allow him to recognize himself and other people as well as objects around him, but nothing else, then he would still have no idea about how things are connected to each other, and he would ignore causes and effects, not being able to distinguish between 'before' and 'after'. For even if Time may be assumed to corrode Memory, she is Time's best organizer. But there is no Time for the mind that cannot remember.

Great goddess at all times

This is why Mnemosyne is a great goddess, not only in the illiterate era when mistrels sang relying on what they found printed in their hearts, but at all times. For the mere act of being could not be apprehended without her; and man, in order to be, must be able to remember that he is, lest his very identity vanishes behind the clouds of inexplicable confusion. And once he remembers who he is, he still needs Memory in order to acquire and practise any science, art, or skill. For also knowledge is inseparable from Memory, by which all things that are and have been may be learned and recalled.

Aby M. Warburg

Warburg entitled the series «Mnemosyne, A Picture Series Examining the Function of Preconditioned Antiquity-Related Expressive Values for the Presentation of Eventful Life in the Art of the European Renaissance». 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
Source: Aby Warburg. Der Bilderatlas MNEMOSYNE, Martin Warnke (ed.), Berlin 2003, 2nd printing.

m n e m o s y n e