What remains when something is forgotten? The burial of a saint, the planning of a city, the moment captured within a photograph — each leaves traces. Bones, language, pixels. Untouchable relics. Structural artifacts that can be recombined and reused to conjure new meaning. In the tracing of a memory we change it and we’re released from the original image — we inscribe our own story.

Produced at the American Academy in Rome in January and February 2011, Memory Palace is a book object that documents three desire lines — structural guides that resonate and conjure meaning. They demonstrate three ways to explore Rome:

Each desire line presents a tension — the crazy friction when time, geography and story rub up against each other.

But the book is also a container for memories (my past, Rome’s) — a non-space to store objects, associations and meaning. An imaginary structure to contain the artifacts: desire lines, relics and maps. It’s like a reliquary, housing both the remains of lost memory (clues to past experiences) as well as new material.

As a photographic investigation, Memory Palace asks if the image can evoke real meaning, or if this is an impossible task. Like a relic — a holy fragment that stands for the whole (and retains all of its power) — can a single pixel open up new dimensions for exploring the image? What kind of faith is required to investigate the photograph?

More images of Memory Palace on Flickr.
View and download Memory Palace (Scribd).