This six-year-old blog hasn't seen a new series in a few months--today will see the start of something new to go along with the various histories of dots, lines, nothing, memory, boredom, fear, blank things, missing things, imaginary things, and so on, something else a little different by which some information can be discretely categorized and collected and presented.
Itg seems as though every other thing in the history of things and ideas can be resolved into piles of one sort or another, even in the history of mathematics, where piles can get very beautiful and interesting and challenging.
To initiate the series will be a few images found in the pages of the Illustrated London News from the first month or two following the end of World War II. The first: piles of church artifacts, from the ILN issue of 13 October 1945. These bells and other items were most likely ransacked by the Nazis for their precious metals, and the statuary, I guess, were taken for the sake of art and its taking. The caption of this remarkable photo relates that the first shipment of 700 bells was just making its way to repatriation.
And this--an awful picture that reminds me of what these piles created, where were similar piles of wallets and purses and other sorts of identification, and of glasses, and valises, and hair, and teeth, and then, finally, of bodies. (Source: Illustrated London News, 3 November 1945.)
[American and Korean soldiers in an enormous stack of used shell casings--"this repreenbts four days of shelling on the west coast". Source: Pacificparatrooper blog.]
This is a drawing of CP-1, Chicago Pile 1, the experimental nuclear reactor built under Skagg Filed at the University of Chicago and which produced the first self-sustaining chain reaction, December 2 1942. [Image source: Wikipedia.]
Nazi identification cards and papers
[Source: 1945 volume of the Illustrated London News, an endless source of interesting everything, gained from a casual browse of the warehouse run of the journal of 1900-1946.]
[Source: Lottie B. Photography]