24 February 2013


Having become somewhat weary of the curatorial life, I have been preparing something new.  Still, one cannot always resist the impulse to organize and to collate.

The text below comes from John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which can be found online in its entirety here.

A company of chess-men, standing on the same squares of the chess-board where we left them, we say they are all in the same place, or unmoved, though perhaps the chess-board hath been in the mean time carried out of one room into another; because we compared them only to the parts of the chess-board, which keep the same distance one with another. The chess-board, we also say, is in the same place it was...

Andy Warhol, Chess Player, 1954
Andy Warhol, Chess Player, 1954

In the chess-board, the use of the designation of the place of each chess-man being determined only within that chequered piece of wood, it would cross that purpose to measure it by anything else; but when these very chess-men are put up in a bag, if any one should ask where the black king is, it would be proper to determine the place by the part of the room it was in, and not by the chess-board.
Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning Playing Chess
Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning Playing Chess, 1948 - Source unknown

So if any one should ask, in what place are the verses which report the story of Nisus and Euryalus, it would be very improper to determine this place, by saying, they were in such a part of the earth, or in Bodley's library: but the right designation of the place would be by the parts of Virgil's works; and the proper answer would be, that these verses were about the middle of the ninth book of his AEneids, and that they have been always constantly in the same place ever since Virgil was printed: which is true, though the book itself hath moved a thousand times, the use of the idea of place here being, to know in what part of the book that story is, that so, upon occasion, we may know where to find it, and have recourse to it for use.

 Dorothea Tanning, End Game, 1944