One of the major goals of my work is to establish what I call the IMdex, a sprawling timeline of different words, objects, models, expressions etc. that one could use to cross reference our vocabulary of pictures with the history of various uses and capacities we have for them.
It is based around the concept, used in the later philosophy of Wittgenstein, of the "language-game", which focuses on the proliferation of different possible uses of a word (it's 'grammar') rather than on the question of the 'meaning' of a word (e.g. its object/referent/sense). In other words: what is the context of such-and-such an expression? What are the different ways of using an expression, and how do we confuse and conflate these various conventions with one another? And then –– what is the history of each conventional expression, and how might we extend and play around with them?
The IMdex, then, seeks to function as a non-encyclopedic reference table which demonstrates the intersection between the forms we imagine (the pictures we think with) and the language that props, shapes and inspires them. Take this provisional, unordered wordbank:
... point, line, area, plane, horizon, direction, space, place, timeline, matrix, grid, lattice, flowchart, arrow, set, map, body, list, limit, axis, face, frame, measure, angle, connection, side, inside, outside, between, here, there, Venn diagram, portrait, bar chart, butterfly diagram, Marconi chart, photograph, Polish chart, mnemonic, density, blueprint, comic strip, small multiple, information resolution, scatterplot, stereogram, model, example, parallel, distribution, variation, timetable, tabulation, chloropleth, stem & leaf, scatterplot, histogram, 'exploded' diagram, noise, network, tree, category, proportion, borderline, cut, circumference, curb, chain, thread, slice, corner, edge, aim, center, surrounding ...
How could we begin to treat of all of these and their concepts (and there are countless more)? By supposed 'internal relations', such as their treatment of numerable amount or the fact that they mostly incorporate lines? That they be approaches to dealing with space? Certainly those would be useful tasks, if a tad reductive and overly systematic. But if we alternatively deal with the way in which we use these forms and the various times and places (contexts) they could be useful, we will instead see more pragmatic resonances which we can immediately capitalize on.