This strange exhibition at the V&A, Memory Palace, asks what would happen if memory was forbidden. Conceived by the author Hari Kunzru, who has written a book to go alongside it, the installation takes us into a world some time in the future where all information infrastructure has been wiped out, and those in power demand that everyone follows a simple life, without remembering the past, creating art or recording history or stories.
The narrator is in prison, accused of reviving the ‘art of memory’. He has turned his prison cell into a ‘memory palace’, and stores fragments and details of recollections here as best he can.
Walking through the exhibition was a surreal experience. It made me think about the role of and importance of memory, and also the way in which memory and evidence can be interpreted in future generations. For instance, in this ‘memory palace’ the practice of recycling has been interpreted as a religion and an illegal gathering of people is called the Internet.
At the end of the exhibition, viewers are invited to submit a memory to the V&A which will be preserved on one of their posters. The poster to which I contributed mine is below: can you guess which is my memory?
The exhibition runs until 20 October.