Pronunciation: 'pa-l&m(p)-"sest, p&-'lim(p)-
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin palimpsestus, from Greek palimpsEstos scraped again, from palin + psEn to rub, scrape; akin to Sanskrit psAti, babhasti he chews
Date: 1825

1 : writing material (as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased
2 : something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface

[ courtesy ]

The palimpsest project takes its name from a term associated primarily with reused writing surfaces from the Middle Ages. It is this aspect of the definition of the term which we hope this exhibition will focus on.

Each piece offered in the initial version of the palimpsest project is meant to act as a future "writing surface" which will be "erased" by another artist, who will then use the remaining "blank" piece as the foundation upon which to create a new piece. This process will repeat until layer upon layer of new information will be crafted on top of the preceding pieces so that portions of every past layer will still be viewable.

This Archimedes mathematical manuscript is a prime example of a palimpsest [ courtesy the Greek Mathematics Index ].


back to top ^