This year I took part in Memory Palace, an exhibition at the V&A based on a piece of fiction by Hari Kunzru which was interpreted and adapted by 20 designers and illustrators to make a multidimensional walk-in story type thing. I was given a passage in which the imprisoned narrator is interrogated. Please click the image below to see the whole piece. Warning, it’s really big.
I had a lot of space to play with so I decided to do a large scale comic that breaks down and depicts the passage in a ridiculously literal way. I wanted to try and describe everything the character sees and experiences as the scene progresses. To be honest I would have liked to have gone even further with the amount of panels and different trains of thought branching off from the main narrative, but for various reasons it is as it is. It probably doesn’t make loads of sense out of context (you can buy a book that has the full story in it plus information about the exhibition) but you should be able to follow it. Below are some bits I cut out for easier viewing and some more info.
From the website:
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.
I felt like I’d been pretty conservative when I saw what some other people had done with the brief. But I did make it really big so that’s something. Some other contributors included Isabel Greenberg, Rob Hunter, Alexis Deacon, Stuart Kolakovic and Henning Wagenbreth who made this cool sculpture. See the full list and more information here.
Here’s my piece in situ. I was going to draw it directly on the wall but I babied out and decided to hand draw it all separately, arrange it digitally and then get it stuck on the wall as a series of giant print offs.