Sunday, December 23, 2012

Painting the Text: Memory's Architecture

Orhan Pamuk realized a remarkable long-time dream in 2012 when he opened in Istanbul his Museum of Innocence-- the physical expression and repository of the story Pamuk tells in his 2009 novel of the same title. 

A museum containing the artifacts described in the novel; a novel based on the objects that epitomize the lives of the characters; a house of fictional memories made real, the fictive as authentic as the reality; the Proustian desire come to life, a mansion of arcades on Sebaldian borderlands.

Pamuk, in an interview with Sameer Rahim, says:  “When people read a novel 600 pages long, six months pass and all they will remember are five pages. They don’t remember the text – instead they remember the sensations the text gives them. In The Museum of Innocence, we are trying to give illustrations to those emotions. The layout of the museum is based on the chapters of the novel: the novel has 83 chapters so the museum has 83 display cabinets, and each box corresponds to the emotion of that chapter.” 

Who can be surprised that Pamuk studied architecture and yearned to be a painter before becoming a writer of fiction?

(Click here and here for more). 

Lobster & Canary wants to take up residence in a museum like this one.  We want to build an annex of our own.  We are apparently not alone in this: over the next week, we'll highlight other artists with similar visions.   Down the rabbit-hole indeed!

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