The Master of the list

SPIEGEL Interview with Umberto Eco: ‘We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die’ –

We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die’

I do love lists and instruments to help make lists, so Eco’s statements ring many bells, even though this one may ring somehow melodramatic. Umberto Eco published his lates book “Vertigo of Lists” (already out in Spanish and Italian), the “origin of culture”. Through lists, he asserts,

we attempt to grasp the incomprehensible.

Eco finds lists in the works of Homer and Joyce, within the paintings of the Dutch Baroque… he loves lists, catalogs, collections, encyclopedias and dictionaries, and many of his novels are filled with lists. The book must be fascinating. But I really miss not being in Paris and not going to see his exhibition at the Louvre, “Mille e tre” on the Infinity of Lists.

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.

The exhibition will be open until the 8th of February 2010. Read the article from The Art Newspaper here: Umberto Eco: master of the list.

In our less scholarly world, love for lists is found and expressed by our appreciation of paper lists of all kinds (to-do lists, address lists, task lists, calendars…) and by the quantity of Web tools to create and manipulate lists. Latest are Remember the Milk, Evernote, dial2do. Like in the Baroque age, we love to prepare and share lists: the famous Amazon Wish List is but one example! But the most glorious? No doubts: our beloved delicious.

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About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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