V&A – Memory Palace

V&A – Memory Palace

I was commissioned by the V&A alongside 19 other designers and illustrators to illustrate a section of a short story written by Hari Kunzru in order to create an exhibition that functioned as a ‘walk-in story’. The story described a future post-apocalyptic London, where information and knowledge was banned and nature was revered.

My section of text described how an age-old electrical storm destroyed the world’s entire information network, and how the story’s inhabitants live amongst the overgrown debris of a past technological age. To represent this I created a series of world ‘maps’ illustrating the transition from networked to natural society using data gathering and data visualisation techniques as a basis for creating the imagery.

For the Accounting world 'map', I represented this world by mapping the altitude of capitol cities, the distance between these cities, and the area within the resulting triangles: in effect, representing how in this time period of the book our world's inhabitants mapped, measured, and gathered data on every aspect of life. 












Then, for the Withering world map, this network of information withers, and the numbers crumble into dust and lightly fall to the bottom of the print. This illustrates a time period in the story when the world's information networks were destroyed by an electrical storm. 












Finally, for the Wilding world map, weeds are growing from the debris of the previous world and crowd the world, representing how in this time period, nature is revered over information.

As the story is set in the ruins of the Olympic park in East London, I based these weed drawings on weeds that were found in an East London postcode: London Rocket, Hogweed, and Hedge Mustard and more. 

V&A's Memory Palace