In ‘A Note Upon the Mystic Writing Pad’ Freud says that he supplements his memory with writing. His mnemonic device of choice was a slip of paper, a scrap that can be produced at any time to restore the lost memory. I prefer collecting, supplementing my memories with an accumulation of things. This accumulation takes on the form of a personal archive, or atlas.
My atlas is addressed to the distant future, it is a way of assuring that something will be left of me when I’m gone. A message to a future that I am not a part of from a past that can only be held onto through objects and images. Freud said that the death drive is always present in the act of collecting. Collecting is an attempt to resist the inevitable, to render oneself permanent through the creation of a personal archive or atlas, to grab a small part of the world and keep it forever.
Sigmund Freud ‘A Note Upon the Mystic Writing Pad’ The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmung Freud Hogarth Press and Institute of Psychoanalysis, London. 1925
Janet Harbord Chris Marker: La Jetee . Afterall Books, London. 2009.