《The Theatre of the World》 by Robert Fludd (1620?)
Most interestingly, I have painted focusing on the art in a society before disenchantment;
in a time when people conveyed memory and information by using their body and not depending on external devices.
My work is based on previous research of the “The Art of Memory” (Ars Memoriae) by Frances Yates and the structure analyses of Comparative Folkloristic and Mythology as study on oral traditions which are developed by Alan Dundes or Joseph Campbell.
“Ars Memoriae”, or “The Art of Memory”, which was initially found in ancient Greek literature.
The Art of Memory was particularly systematized in the 14-17th century in Europe. One of these methods is called “The Method of Loci” also known as “Mind Palace” today. The user of this technique draws a real or imaginary house, city or palace inside their head which contains a hundred rooms and quadrates to place symbols and images within it, partly on the floor and partly on the four walls.
These represented images helped the user of this technique to enhance and recall their memories. Icons from the Bible, Greek myths or Kabbalah etc. often appear as the recommended images (Latin: imagines) in a book for instructing readers in The Art of Memory in those days, and these are also the prototypical elements in my work.
The Art of Memory is the idea that put ‘chains’ (Latin: catena) and ‘marks’ (Latin: notae) on memory as putting tags on a book. I consider only ‘marks’ float and ‘chains’ vanish or they are generated automatically in the modern society, contrastingly.
This is noticeable when we look at Google images. In this example the images are ‘marks’ and they are displayed together without any deep ‘chain’ connection beyond the simple text used in the search.
Originally, I was interested in the “The Method of Loci”, because I had subconsciously memorized the contents of novels, using a similar technique since my childhood, although at that time I had no knowledge of the “The Method of Loci.”
The experience fascinated me: The connection between the degree of how easy it is to memorize the contents of literature and use an image of space.
The characterization of these beautifully simple and one-dimensional characters greatly interested me too.
These characters exist in myths and folktales for the soul purpose of telling the story.
Most artworks and letters today are signed and named by the author. On the contrary, myths and folktales were basically formed by numerous anonymous speakers. The transformation of oral literature never ends. It transforms infinitely, exchanging each motif or structure of a story, little by little. It does not have a particular speaker, nor does it have a clear end in sight. I assume that an animated form of narratives reflects what humans have desired, and the inherent components in humans.
I consider these archaic ways of memorizing, and transmitting our information and cultural history, to be contrastive to contemporary perspectives. We are now living in vast amounts of horizontal images, which flow across various media. We no longer accumulate memories by using our body's inner space, but instead we use external devices such as books and PCs. Through my creation, I reflect on the collective memory of humans, how it exists today, and how it is used in today's world.