“The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries. There is an allure to enumerating how many women Don Giovanni slept with: It was 2,063, at least according to Mozart’s librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte. We also have completely practical lists — the shopping list, the will, the menu — that are also cultural achievements in their own right.” -Umberto Eco
And incredible interview with Umberto Eco – illuminating and thoughtful, all under the cut.
Think I may just go on a trip to Paris for his exhibition at the Louvre (The exhibition “Mille e tre” traces the evolution of the concept of a list through history and examines how its meaning changes with the passage of time: from its ancient use in funerary traditions to its present-day use in everyday life, via the creative processes of contemporary artists, the list is a vehicle for cultural codes and the bearer of different messages.). Looks too interesting and relevant to my final project to pass up on.
Continue reading “Umberto Eco on lists”
“Language moves between us and the world on patterns of repetition and variation, and a mimetic example of this might be something like an alphabet”
(this is a favourite, above)
(a ‘found font’ pieced together from cast-off chunks of plastic, perspex, wire and die-cast metal)
Paul Elliman profile – “It is society, not design, he says, that interests him.”
the “alphabet that just keeps giving” – the origin and thoughts on ‘found’ type