Mnemosyne

A History of the Arts of Memory

The ‘Arts of Memory’ are a marker of the way people think in a given time period. They act as a black box of the representations of the world.

2700 years ago, the Ancient Greeks invented the Arts of Memory, personified as Mnemosyne. More than merely a mnemonic device useful to orators, they invented a technique of visually representing the world, which has since nurtured figurative arts and human knowledge.

This book reflects on the history of visual thought revealed by the ‘Arts of Memory’, from Antiquity, through to Giordano Bruno, Leibniz, and Walter Benjamin to Aby Warburg and digital landscapes.

Today, digital culture connects human beings and through its interactive interfaces provides new possibilities for reinventing Bruno’s idea of ‘expanding universe’. This enables us to access a wide range of information and knowledge and their interactions help us to develop collective intelligence. We see how a new type of visual thinking is emerging that creates new forms of knowledge and representations of the real.

The author, Francois Boutonnet is a filmmaker and senior lecturer in Film Studies.

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