In The Art of Memory, Frances Yates elucidates a classical example of the perceptual affects of time and space through media. The medium of memory utilizes both time and space. "Artificial memory," a mnemonic technology, was used to remember a speech as it unfolded in time through the media of architecture. [see memory, (2)] The speech was mapped onto specific familiar places or "loci" through which the orator navigated in his or her mind. In "artificial memory," the temporal and the spatial were inextricable.
According to Einstein, space and time are relative to the observer. They are continuous only within the coordinate system in which they are operating. Therefore, multiple types of "space-time" are conceptually possible outside of the "space-time" experience of human beings (Nerlich 1-11). In 1907, German mathematician Minkowski published Space and Time , a text that posited a four-dimensional space, with time as the fourth dimension. Minkowski was a crucial influence on Einstein's revision of the theory of relativity and the further definition of his own concept of "space-time" as a single entity rather than two separate entities (Nerlich 1-11). Einstein's and Minkowski's conceptions of space radically transformed the media of visual arts and literature. As Linda Dalrymple Henderson notes in The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art, modernist movements in the visual arts became concerned with the representation of four-dimensional spatial realities as determined by time. From Cubism, which still maintained a figurative approach, to the abstractions of Russian suprematism and De Stijl, modern art attempted to depict and form changing spatial and temporal realities. Likewise, as Joseph Frank proposes in The Idea of Spatial Form , modernist writers intend their work to be read as a distinct moment in time as opposed to a chain of events. Lessing's categories had switched sides to the pictorial representation of time and the literary representation of space.