Sunday, 20 October 2013

Memory Palace - Sky Arts Ignition - Hari Kunzru - V&A

Sky Arts Ignition: Memory Palace brings together a new work of fiction by the author Hari Kunzru with 20 original commissions from leading graphic designers, illustrators and typographers to create a multidimensional story.
The way we read books is changing. Memory Palace explores how a story might be imagined in a different format – as a walk-in book.

The Story
Hari Kunzru's story is set in a future London, hundreds of years after the world’s information infrastructure was wiped out by an immense magnetic storm. Technology and knowledge have been lost, and a dark age prevails. Nature has taken over the ruins of the old city and power has been seized by a group who enforce a life of extreme simplicity on all citizens. Recording, writing, collecting and art are outlawed.
The narrator of the story is in prison. He is accused of being a member of a banned sect, who has revived the ancient ‘art of memory’. They try to remember as much of the past as they can in a future where forgetting has been official policy for generations. The narrator uses his prison cell as his ‘memory palace’, the location for the things he has remembered: corrupted fragments and misunderstood details of things we may recognise from our time. He clings to his belief that without memory, civilisation is doomed.

Yesterday Dan and I went to see this exhibition (since I've ben wanting to see it for a long time!) Dan kindly bought us a years membership at the V&A, so now we can go to all the exhibitions when we want (yay!) The main reason I wanted to go was because I knew that Sam Winston was a commissioned artworker for this particular exhibition. For those of you who do not know, I had the pleasure of working alongside Sam in March 2012. You can read about my time with him here. His work is absolutely fascinating.

The exhibition was really great. A few particular pieces I really enjoyed was that of Hansje van Halen, as well as Sam Winston's which you can see below and another piece that he did here. Sam goes into much more detail of the process behind his art which you can see on his website.

One thing which interested my attention was the work of Johnny Kelly. The exhibition mainly talked about memories which were mostly physical. It explored the landscape, the hospital, some form of religion and churches, civilisation etc. Whereas, the very last part of the exhibition was one that everyone could contribute to. 

'This is what we do for the dying. I am permitted to add one memory of my own to the store. The others will hold it, will cherish it as carefully as the words of a Lawlord'.

If you could keep on memory, what would it be? Just take a second to think about your memory. Out of everything you have done, achieved, not achieved, significant moments in your life.  That time you landed the best job? That time you bought your first car, the time you travelled and stood on top of mount everest? What would be be?

We could write one thing, one memory into this computer with an interactive pen. These were then printed out in A2 format on black paper with our white drawings/words/messages. 

I didn't see one single memory which mentioned anything physical or materialistic. 
It was about people. That person they met which showed great kindness, the moment the person fell in love, "grandpa's hand" , "Mark's smile and your continuous generosity. Love Pat x". The common theme was people, love, -a memory with someone special in their life. 

If you could remember only one thing, if you could have only one memory, what would it be?

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