Stephen Wolfram's 'A New Kind of Science' states in its colophon that it has 973 illustrations spread out over 1280 pages. Remarkably, he accomplishes this without ever using figure numbers. No figure has any number and each figure is referenced in the text using statements like '... the picture on the facing page ...' or '... the picture below ... ' or '... as illustrated to the left ...', etc.
Leaving aside the dubious science in this book, I find the positioning in the book to be a tour de force of book layout. My question is whether this can be accomplished using TeX?
I have never seen, or heard mention of, any LaTeX package that does anything like this, so I presume accomplishing something like this would require fine grained control of LaTeX's float positioning algorithm and implementing a custom solution, probably using LuaTeX or pythonTeX. Wolfram states that he used Mathematica to position the figures and to solve "innumerable small geometrical puzzles to do so".