Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks

The Mnemosyne Atlas and the Meaning of Panel 79 in Aby Warburg’s Oeuvre as a Distributed Object

by Sara Angel

Abstract

With his Mnemosyne Atlas Aby Warburg set out to find a revisionist method for studying art that surpassed its understanding through language. But his goal set up a new challenge. How does one comprehend what Warburg called an “art history without text” when he offered no explanation for its use? The following essay addresses this question utilizing a theoretical framework outlined by Alfred Gell in Art and Agency: Towards a New Anthropological Theory, which views an artist’s output as a network of its creator’s distributed personhood.

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