In 1905 Aby Warburg proposed a heuristic research method based on images. He built sixty-three panels where he rearranged his personal archive of images, establishing a new system of non-obvious links. This cartography known as the Bilderatlas Mnemosyne is an open network of cross-relations, which can be expanded through the incorporation of new data as well as the discovery of new territories.
This form of reorganization of information is close to Michael Foucault’s idea of “heterotopy” or, to the ideas of the cinematographic montage proposed by Sergei Einsenstein.
The project Displays of Affection* uses these methodologies of dialectical conflict, in which new ideas emerge from the apparent collision of different images in order to construct a possible mapping of the lines of research of Galeria Estrany-de la Mota. This map is the result of a process of inventorying and cataloguing of the funds that has been carried out in the last year and a half in the gallery. Like Aby Warburg’s atlas, both projects have been interrupted: in the case of the Bilderatlas Mnemosyne because of the death of the historian in 1929 and in the case of Displays of Affection due to the death of Antoni Estrany the past February. Both are a work in progress that allow us to discover new territories. This process has led to heterogeneous results very close to the archaeological proposals of visual knowledge by authors such as Georges Didi-Huberman, where the overlays of all these images allow endless cross-relations.
The project wants to emphasize the links that can be established between these images as well as reading these links with the tools provided in the “affective turn” coined by Patricia Clough. It pretends to rebuild the interstices between these images, paying special attention to the significance of affections. From visualizing all these affective links, we can rebuild a community, which is definitely the most faithful image of the gallery project.
The project Displays of Affection is conceived as two exhibition moments. The former works as cartography of the past that allows a balance of the trajectory (Cartographing the Memory), while the latter proposes a future hypothesis as a responsibility for its continuity (Imagine the Future). Both are understood as representations for the activation of ideas and relationships that enable the continuous enriching of the forthcoming future.
*The title of the project is a play on words with the meanings of the English word display. The literal translation would be "demonstrations of affection", but at the same time, it refers to the exhibition device with which it is intended to reread the relations between the diversity of the exhibited material.
Guided visit (in Spanish) by ferranElOtro