The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism turns the human subconscious into a picture book.
Up a flight of quiet townhouse stairs, on a manic stretch of East 39th Street that includes, among other things, a stately cultural institute, a religious mission and a center for "foot health," hides the New York branch of a mysterious enterprise called ARAS, or the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism. It's hard to figure out exactly what goes on there, and even harder to explain once you know. But a lot of it owes to ARAS's namesake holdings: a collection of 17,000 "mythological, ritualistic and symbolic" images meant to catalog, more or less, the whole of our collective human unconscious.
"A 'symbol' points to something beyond just the thing in an image itself, beyond the knowledge that we have in our waking, conscious life," said ARAS curator Ami Ronnberg. "What we want to do is to go into an image and let the image speak on its own, to go into the deeper meaning of it."... (Click title for more)