If it is true that a picture tells a thousand words, then the V&A’s new exhibition should be able to tell Hari Kunzru’s story, “Memory Palace,” twice. This ambitious show aims to bring to life Kunzru’s 10,000 word story with 20 multi-dimensional pieces from graphic designers, typographers and illustrators.
Kunzru’s story, which was written specially for this exhibition, presents a dystopian vision of the future. A magnetic storm has destroyed much of our data, throwing us into an age called The Withering. Meanwhile a ruling elite named The Thing is trying to bring about The Wilding—an idealised union with nature—by destroying all remaining information and the art of remembering.
Kunzru’s protagonist has joined the Memorialists, a sect who are trying to retain as much information as possible about the past. The protagonist has been jailed for retaining a piece of the Periodic Table or “Great Table of Elements” which has been made into a physical object. The protagonist starts to construct a memory palace inside his own mind in order to remember past services such as hospitals and museums.