note on Atlas by Anthony Auerbach
This apparatus was devised for examining the material obtained
during Aerial Reconnaissance Survey B. At the site of the
survey, an area which, from the 1930s until 1945, was host to the
headquarters of the Nazi security apparatus, I found an expanse
of recently dressed sand in a shallow depression. The former tentants
of the so-called 'Prinz Albrecht Terrain' had made the site problematic
for post-war development and most of the site has remained derelict.
Efforts dating from the 1980s to reclaim the land as a memorial
site have also failed. The half-built project for a documentation
centre designed by the prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor was
demolished in 2005 and all traces of it erased. I surveyed a small
portion of the site where it stood.
In a remark to the Inspection panel (see Inspecting the Inspectorate
and Transcript), I suggested that it was as if the photographs
resulting from the survey compel one to be able to account each
grain of sand visible on the surface. Atlas is a device
for this accounting: a survey of the survey. Each photograph was
organised in sequence (as displayed in the Index to Atlas)
and divided into sectors for counting. The accountants marked each
grain counted in each sector and entered the results in the Tally.
For a means of interpreting the data, the Inspectorate is referred
to configurations of sand, counting and recounting (zählen
und erzählen: counting and telling) in the works of Paul Celan,
for example: OBEN, GERÄUSCHLOS, SOLVE, among others (see also Informants Reports).
Atlas consists of 275 A1 sheets, each displaying an enlargement
of one photograph from the survey sequence, equipped with a grid
for the process of counting. The counting takes place at the limit
of the resolution of the photograph. Accountants were instructed,
when grains could not be distinguished perceptually, to count artifacts
of the photograph.