Michaud Philip Alain Aby Warburg Appendix

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Michaud Philip Alain Aby Warburg Appendix

Transcript of Michaud Philip Alain Aby Warburg Appendix

  • Figure 93. "G

    oing to the Snake Dance at W

    alpi," August 1891. From Th

    omas D

    onaldson, M

    oqui Pueblo Indians of Arizona and Pueblo

    Indians of New

    Mexico (W

    ashington, DC

    , 1893).

    MoqlJis

    ",nd

    P"l""blos

    $. ~,;.e""M~"t'

  • AB

    Y

    WA

    RB

    UR

    G

    AN

    D

    TH

    E

    IMA

    GE

    IN

    M

    OT

    ION

    intervals," which h

    e used in his journal of 1929. 2 This iconology is

    based not o

    n th

    e meaning of the figures

    -the foundation of inter-

    pretation for Warburg's disciples, beginning w

    ith Panofsky -

    but o

    n the interrelationships betw

    een the figures in their co

    mplex,

    autonom

    ous arra

    ngement, w

    hich can

    not be reduced to discourse.

    Although E

    rnst Gom

    brich claimed that Fritz Saxl played a

    n

    important role in the genesis of the project, o

    ne n

    otes that Mnem

    o-syne re

    capitulates, in im

    ages, Warburg's re

    search into the su

    rvival of A

    ntiquity throughout his care

    er

    -from

    the depiction of the gods of A

    ntiquity in Renaissance a

    rt to the representation of the nym

    ph in motion; from

    the history of the heavens and the c

    orre

    -

    spondences between the m

    icrocosm a

    nd the macro

    co

    sm to c

    ou

    rt festivals. 3 O

    ne episode, however, is strangely absent from

    this them

    atic catalog: Warburg's trip to N

    ew M

    exico and A

    rizona dur-ing the w

    inter of 1895-1896, despite the important photographic

    documentation he had av

    ailable and that he had in part a

    ssem

    bled firsthand

    . 4 The trip re

    mains n

    on

    etheless a likely, though deleted, o

    rigin of the atlas Warburg u

    ndertook right after leaving the Kreu-

    zlingen clinic -

    after having delivered his lecture on

    the serpent

    ritual, which broke his long silence a

    nd marked his return to the

    Indian question, in which he had se

    em

    ingly lost interest for mo

    re

    than twenty-five years. s

    In the margin of his draft of the 1923 lecture, W

    arburg noted,

    "missing Freud Totem

    a

    nd Taboo."6 In the first lines of that essay, Freud declared that he so

    ught to establish a parallel betw

    een "the

    psychology of primitive peoples, as it is taught by so

    cial anthro-

    pology, and the psychology of n

    eu

    rotics, as it has been revealed by

    psycho-analysis:'7 In light of Freud's rem

    arks, the K

    reuzlingen lecture takes an

    openly introspective turn. B

    ut the trip to the Am

    erican West also has a heuristic v

    alue. In 1930, Saxl n

    oted that it was in N

    ew M

    exico that Warburg dis-

    co

    vered the principle for a re

    new

    al of his interpretation of the

    ZW

    ISC

    HE

    NR

    EIC

    H

    Florentine Re

    nais

    san

    ce. 8 In the im

    ages of the rituals W

    arburg photograph

    ed or a

    ssem

    bled after the fact, o

    ne do

    es notice that h

    e

    sought to interpret th

    e past in the light of the faraw

    ay, producing a c

    ollision betwee

    n tw

    o levels of reality u

    nknown to each other:

    Native (and to so

    me e

    xten

    t acculturated) A

    merica o

    n the o

    ne

    hand, and th

    e Florentine Renaissance, o

    n th

    e other (figures 94a and b). Thes

    e violent asso

    ciations, which o

    ver tim

    e wo

    uld lose their intuitiven

    ess and becom

    e structural, arise no

    t from sim

    ple co

    mparisons but from

    rifts, detonations, and deflagrations. They

    seek n

    ot to find c

    on

    stants in the order of h

    eterogeneous things but to introduc

    e differences within the identical. In M

    nemosyne, in

    keeping with the m

    odel Warburg form

    ulated during his trip, the distance betw

    een the images, w

    hich tends to invert the parame-

    ters of time a

    nd space, produces tensions between the objects

    depicted and, inductively, betw

    een the levels of reality from

    which

    these objects proceed. To grasp w

    hat Warburg m

    eant by the

    "iconology of the inter-v

    als," on

    e m

    ust try to u

    nderstand, in terms of introsp

    ection a

    nd m

    ontage, w

    hat binds, or, inversely, separates, the m

    otifs on

    the irregular black fields that isolate the im

    ages on

    the surface of the

    panels and bear w

    itne

    ss to an e

    nigmatic prediscursive purpose.

    Each panel of Mnem

    osyne is the cartographic relief of an

    area of art

    history imagined Sim

    ultaneously as an objective sequence a

    nd as a chain of thought in w

    hich the netw

    ork of the intervals indicates

    the fault lines that distribute or o

    rganize the representations into archipelagoes o

    r, in other wo

    rds, as Werner H

    ofmann has put it,

    into "c

    on

    stellations."9 In a

    rranging the im

    ages o

    n the black cloth of th

    e panels of his atlas, W

    arburg was attem

    pting to activate dynam

    ic properties that w

    ould be latent if c

    on

    sidered individually. His inspiration for this

    technique of activating visual data w

    as a c

    on

    cept form

    ulated 1

    0 1904 by R

    ichard Semon, a G

    erman psy

    chologist who w

    as a

    253

  • Figures 94a and b.

    Masked dancers,

    Hopi co

    untry, Arizona, 1895. Photographed

    by Henry R. Voth. Aby W

    arburg Collection.

    ZW

    ISC

    HE

    NR

    EIC

    H

    student of Ewald H

    ering's. In his Die M

    neme ais erhaitendes Prinzip

    im W

    echsei des organischen Geschehens (M

    emory as a basic principle of o

    rganic becoming), Sem

    on defined mem

    ory as the function

    charged with preserving a

    nd transmitting e

    nergy tem

    porally, allow

    ing som

    eo

    ne to re

    act to so

    mething in the past from

    a dis-tance. Every e

    vent affecting a living being leaves a trace in the

    mem

    ory, a

    nd Semon c

    alled this trace an

    engram

    , which he de-

    scribed as the reproduction of an

    original e

    vent. 10

    Warburg's atlas e

    xternalizes and redeploys in c

    ulture the phe-n

    om

    en

    on

    described by Semon w

    ithin the psyche. The images in

    Mnem

    osyne are "e

    ngrams" capable of re

    -cre

    ating an e

    xperience of the past in a spatial c

    onfiguration. As c

    on

    ceived by W

    arburg, his album

    of images represents the place in w

    hich original e

    xpressive en

    ergy c

    an

    be rekindled in archaic figures deposited in modern

    culture a

    nd in which this re

    surgence c

    an

    take shape. Like Semon's

    engram

    s, the atlas's images are

    "reproductions," but they a

    re pho-

    tographic reproductions, literally, photograms. 11

    One e

    xam

    ple is on

    panel 2 of the atlas (figure 95), in the ele-m

    ents a

    rranged o

    n the top a

    nd to the right. In this module, o

    ne

    finds, arra

    nged in a circle:

    tw

    o representations of the heavens from a ninth-century m

    an

    u-

    script, after Ptolem

    y;

    a globe held by the Farnese Hercules from

    the Museo N

    azio-n

    ale in Naples, in close-up;

    a detail of the Farnese Hercules;

    a close-up of a detail of the globe held by Hercules, depicting

    an episode from

    the legend of Perseus;

    and below

    , vignettes taken from the Aratus, a Latin m

    an

    usc

    ript in Leiden, c

    arv

    ed on

    two sym

    metrical c

    olumns, depicting the

    actors in the n

    arrative: A

    ndromeda, the sea m

    on

    ster Cetus,

    Perseus, Pegasus, Cassiopeia. 255

  • Figure 95. Aby W

    arburg, M

    nemosyne, pi: 2

    (detail): Ptolemy

    's heavens.

    ZW

    ISC

    HE

    NR

    EIC

    H

    Through the simple juxtaposition of im

    ages taken from differ-

    ent so

    urc

    es, W

    arburg generates som

    ething that anyone of these

    images taken alone w

    ould n

    ot produce. Taken sim

    ultaneously, the tw

    o drawings of the c

    elestial vault represent the totality of the

    sky. The close-up of the globe, to the right, appears as the materi-

    alization of this double planetary relief, in such a w

    ay that on

    e

    mo

    ves u

    nco

    nsciously from

    a drawing of the heavens to its projec-

    tion in three dimensions, from

    a line drawing to a photograph.

    Next, o

    ne m

    ov

    es from the close-up to the general plan, a

    nd from

    the close-up to the extrem

    e close-up that isolates an episode of

    Perseus's adventures in a syntax entirely cinem

    atic in inspiration. N

    ext, on

    e c

    om

    es back to a general draw

    ing of the sky through a circular m

    ov

    em

    ent, a form

    al path similar