memory palace


A roman reliquary.

When using the memory palace, one needs only to remember the symbols, after which the encoded information becomes unlocked like the chirograph which connects to its counterpart.

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. That’s what I’ve been investigating in Rome for six weeks and Memory palace is the result. It documents my work but it also stands separate from my process — it’s a container of artifacts for creating new images, for suggesting new stories. A meditative device, like a book of hours. It marks the end of my time in Rome but it’s very much a beginning. A presto!

Full description on the Memory palace project page.

Many more images of Memory palace on Flickr. And a PDF (3.4MB) of the entire book.



Day 32. Three desire lines showing me three ways to explore the city. Each line of inquiry generates images, icons and relics. I’m using them to build a new language — linked associations that conjure meaning and feeling.

I see these images (Chain, Drain and Name) as plans (or maps) for a new memory palace. Reliquaries of meaning (“do this in memory of me”). I’ve placed icons and relics within each. It’s all pretty literal: resurrected photographs (12 million pixels down-sampled to 12 and then regenerated at 12,000) are a backdrop of impossible meaning for the placement of objects. The end images are a kind of acheiropoieta, a spontaneous appearance, ‘not handmade’ (anti-paintings). Trying to create a language here, a form-generating methodology I could use to build memory palaces anywhere.