Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A MEMORY PALACE & The Keys to the Museum of Innocence

"What matters in life is not what happens to you,
but what you remember and how you remember it"
   - Gabriel Garcia Marquez  1927 - 2014

Some blossoms in the orchard - Chateau de Charras

Soon I will be on a train, then on a plane back to San Francisco...memories are flooding in; all the friends & relatives I will see and the eras we've shared.  It may be my last trip back to the states.

I want to build a Memory Palace, like the one Mira Bartok constructed in her memoir "The Memory Palace," to cope with the devastation of a ruined family and a schizophrenic mother.  An excerpt from her book:

A Memory Palace.  A man named Matteo Ricci built one once.  I read about him the year after my accident.  Ricci, a Jesuit Priest who possessed great mnemonic powers, traveled to China in 1596 and taught scholars how to build an imaginary palace to keep their memories safe.  He told them that the size of the palace would depend on how much they wanted to remember.  To everything they wanted to recall, they were to affix an image; to every image, a position inside a room in their mind.  His idea went back to the Greek poet Simonides, who, one day while visiting friends at a palace, stepped outside for a minute to see who was at the door.  As soon as he went outside, the great hall came crashing down.  All the people inside were crushed to death and no one could recognize them.  Simonides, however, remembered where everyone stood at the party, and recalled them one by one so their bodies could be identified...Ricci told the scholars that the place to put each picture must be spacious, the light even and clear, but not too bright.  He said that the first image they should choose for their memory palace must arouse strong emotions." 

In Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk created his own Memory Palace in The Museum of Innocence

Orhan Pamuk - Museum of Innocence, Istanbul

"My Father's Death"
The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul
Pamuk did it for different reasons, based on the book he wrote by the same title, published in 2008. The book set in Istanbul is the account of a failed love affair between a wealthy businessman and a poor distant relation, Fusun, a shop girl. 

Füsun and Kemal are to be married after a trip around Europe together, but fate has something else in store altogether and they get separated for life after a night of intense love making. Kemal regards each object related to Füsun and their love, collected over the years, as portraying some discrete moment of happiness and bliss in the passage of those nine years. He decides to convert the Füsun’s house into a museum of innocence, including all these objects and also other memorabilia related to the period. 

The Museum of Innocence - Istanbul

Internalized memories rendered material and external. What Marquez says is true:  we can choose how and what to remember.

More Blossoms - Charras

And here's to forging new memories...

Gallery - Chateau Sainte Catherine

We had a successful April 19th opening, champagne flowed & Gabrielle's gorgeous canapes consumed with gusto! 

Cherub - Chateau Sainte Catherine

And Joyeux Anniversaire to my little Angel, Lisa.  Off into the sky we both have flown.  You are tucked inside my Memory Palace forever.  

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