DRAWING AND MEMORY

TEXTS AND REFERENCES

F.Yates The Art of Memory 1966 quotes "To think is to speculate with images..." Giordano Bruno in Shadows 1582. Yates traces the rivalry of two diametrically opposed methods of remembering - the Ramist approach of hierarchies with no images, and the Renaissance occult method (Bruno) of generating images and learning to intensifying them, pp270 -

 

SOME TEXTS FOR YOU

DRAWING AND MEMORY01 "When observing the scene he wished to remember, he would study the essential points upon which the effect depended, then turn his back on it and recapitulate these points,turning round to see if he had got his lesson perfect. " J.M.Whistler described by his friend T.R.Way preparing for painting Nocturnes. Le Coq, Training the Memory in Art beneath appendix.

DRAWING AND MEMORY 02 "[Harry] Furniss cultivated a trick of making rough notes blind in his pocket - a difficult job at first, but one at which improvement comes with practice. In my experience a better dodge in emergencies is to 'draw' notes with the forefinger upon the palm of the hand. After all, half the value of putting down lines on paper is that by action, the lines are also put down in memory... 'Spy' believed that his best work in pure caricature was a done from memory, but from memory ordered and educated by copious note-taking beforehand. " David Low, Ye Madde Designer, 1936. p.77

 

MEMORY AND SYSTEMS Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself Penguin 1988 (first published 1936) "My office work had taught me to think out a notion in detail, pack it away in my head, and work on it by snatches in any surroundings. The lurch and surge of the old horse-drawn buses made a luxurious cradle for such ruminations. Bit by bit, my original notion grew into a vast, vague conspectus - Army and Navy Stores list if you like - of the whole sweep and meaning of things and effort and origins throughout the Empire. I visualised it as I do most ideas, in the shape of a semi-circle of buildings and temples projecting out into a sea - of dreams ."

 

CREATIVE COGNITION "In contemporary research on human cognition, topics such as retrieving memories, generating images, and solving problems have typically been explored in what are essentially non-creative contexts. Being creative is one of the most important things that a person can do, yet there is little one can actually learn, about creativity from reading the current cognitive literature. Indeed, if a person were to ask "What can I do to act more creatively ?" few answers could be found in most of the cognitive studies that have been conducted up to now." from Finke Ward Smith Creative Cognition 1992 p.4

 

PERCEPTION AND IMAGINATION What are the relationships between perception and mental imagery ? "To think of a thing is different from to perceive it, as '"to walk" is from to "feel the ground under you"; perhaps in the same way too - namely, succession of perceptions accompanied by a sense of nisus and purpose." Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Anima Poetae

 

DRAWING AND DAYDREAMING Jerome Singer on Daydreaming - 1981 "As schoolwork, sports and organised games took more of my time, ands as I naturally became embarassed by continued overt make-believe, I indulged in these fantasy characters more and more by drawing pictures of them in notebooks. Eventually the sequences were almost totally internalised in private visual imagery. My drawings were much like comic strips elaborating particular sequences of adventures, except that no captions were necessary because the fantasy was played out internally...."

 

SEEING WITH EYES SHUT " I have only to shut my eyes to feel how ignorant I am whence these forms and coloured forms, and colours distinguishable beyond what I can distinguish, derive their birth. These varying and infinite co-present colours, what are they ? I ask to what do they belong in my waking remembrance ? and almost always never receive an answer. Only I perceive and know thatwhatever I change, in any part of me, produces some change in these eye-spectra; as, for,instance, if I press my legs or change sides." Samuel Taylor Coleridge from Anime Poeta December 19th, 1803.

 

MEMORY AND INVENTION 01 Bishop George Berkeley, 1710 "28. I find I can excite ideas in my mind at pleasure , and vary and shift the scene as oft as I think fit. It is no more than willing, and straightway this or that idea arises in my fancy; and by the same power it is obliterated and makes way for another. This making and unmaking of ideas doth very properly denominate the mind active. This much is certain and grounded on experience : but when we talk of unthinking agents, or exciting ideas exclusive of Volition, we only amuse ourselves with words.

 

MEMORY AND INVENTION 02 John Cheever Bullet Park Vintage London 1992 (first written 1969) see also his published journals and letters. Spare and observant American author writing for The New Yorker. See movie after his story The Swimmer with Burt Lancaster.The sudden attacks of melancholia. "My best defence, my only defence was to cover my head with a pillow and and summon up those images that represented for me the excellence and beauty I had lost. The first of these was a mountain - it was obviously Killimanjaro. The summit was a perfect snow-covered cone, lighted by a passing glow. I saw the mountain a thousand times - I begged to see it - and as I grew more familiar with it I saw the fire of a primitive village at its base. The vision dated, I guess, from the bronze of the iron age. Next in frequency I saw a fortified medieval town. It could have been Mt Saint-Michel or Orvieto or the grand lamasery in Tibet, but the image of the walled town, like the snow-covered mountain, seemed to represent beauty, enthusiasm, and love. I also saw less frequently and less successfully, a river with grassy banks. I guessed these were the Elysian Fields although I found them difficult to arrive at and at one point it seemed to me that a railroad track or a thruway had destroyed the beauty of the place."

 

IMAGES AS FUNDAMENTAL TO UNDERSTANDING PROPOSITIONS Of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus, published in Austria in 1921 and the UK in 1922. Anthony Quinton, in Brian Magee’s Men of Ideas OUP Oxford 1978 speaks of LW "The first thing he said the most fundamental doctrine propounded in the Tractatus, is that propositions are pictures. That is not put forward as a metaphorical description, a way of saying somewhat more graphically that propositions represent the world. He took the claim that propositions were pictures very, very seriously. He kept insisting that they were literally pictures. And this leads to a second doctrine that pictures have elements that correspond to the scene they picture. Propositions are essentially composite things, as is shown in sentences which are made of different words : the proposition is made of words functioning as names, and the names correspond directly to the objects which enter into the fact - the names are arranged in the sentence as the objects are arranged in the fact. Attached to this is the view that the world, if it is to be capable of being represented in language must be an arrangement or an array of objects which have various possibilities of being combined with one another. What actually is the case is the way those objects are arranged. That has the consequence that the essential meaningful content of discourse - of language that is put to the really crucial use of which language can be put - is its picturing the facts that constitute the world.... Wittgenstein never gives any examples of these fundamental pictorial propositions - perhaps none of the propositions we utter in everyday life would be examples. But his requirement that if language is to be meaningful it must have a definite sense , and that this definite sense consists in its performing an essentially pictorial task, this for him necessitates that every genuine proposition , even if it is not a single picture, must, if it is to be meaningful, be a vast complex, a conjunction, of pictures."

RECOMMENDED REFERENCES

Frances Yates, The Art of Memory, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London , 1966.

Thomas Butler, Memory: History, Culture and the Mind, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1989 the WolfsonCollege Lectures.

Alan D.Baddley, The Psychology of Memory, Harper & Row London, 1985 (1976).

Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudron , The Training of the Memory in Art, Macmillan, London, 1914 translated from the French by L.C.Luard and with an introduction by Selwyn Image.

James McConkey, The Anatomy of Memory, An Anthology, OUP New York London 1996.

Richard Sorabji, Aristotle on Memory, Duckworth, London 1972. Sections on Memory, MnemonicTechniques, and a translation of De Memoria et Remeniscentia, with interpretative summaries.

Mary Warnock, Memory, Faber and Faber, London 1987.

Steven Rose, The Making of Memory, From Molecules to Mind, Bantam, London 1992. "...one of the most challenging of all biological and human phenomena, that of memory..." see Chapter 5, "Holes in the Head, Holes in the Mind" - Memory as Image Making - The Time Course of Memory - Diseases of memory - Recognition versus Recall - Forms of memory - Inferring Function from Dysfunction - Holes in the Brain - Holes in the Mind - Windows on the Brain.

David Berglas, and Guy Lion Playfair, A Question of Memory, Jonathan Cape, London , 1988. A joint authorship, scientific writer and conjuror/mind reader. A modern account of mnemonic tricks.

Ian M.L.Hunter, MEMORY Facts and Fallacies, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1961 [1957]

1. What is memory ?

2. memorizing

3. Why do we forget ?

4. Recalling Stories and Events

5. Repressing

6. Imaging

7. Improving memory.

 

 

SPECIALISMS

MUSIC - Frederick Shinn, Musical memory and its Cultivation, Vincent London 1898.

 

NARRATIVE - James Olney, Memory & Narrative The Weave of Life-Writing, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1998. Memory and the Narrative Imperative. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Crisis of Narrative Memory. Sections on St.Augustine's Confessions.