Loosely inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and the concept of a ‘memory palace’ first attributed to the Greek poet Simonides (556-468 BC) and further developed by Giulio Camillo (1480-1544), Memory Room was a durational multi-media performance installation that investigates the relationship between women, writing, and memory. A ‘memory palace’ is a mnemonic system to spatially organize memories using specific ‘loci’ or spatial locations organized along a predetermined path. When items need to be remembered, one walks along the path to recall one memory at a time. Expanding upon Camillo’s concept of the ‘memory theatre’ or ‘theatres of memory,’ Memory Room layers a series of ‘memory palaces’ of women writers—Emily Dickenson, Zelda Fitzgerald, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, Audre Lorde, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath among many others—all women who made an indelible mark on the world of literature. Over the course of three months, at designated times, a ‘memory-keeper’ marked the space with fragments from notebooks and journals of these women. The performance lasted until the entire space is filled with writing.
Conceived and Directed by Rachel Bowditch
Memory-Keepers: Rachel Bowditch, Julie Rada, Chelsea Pace, Shay Webster, and Jennifer Strickland.
Media Design/Installation: Dan Fine
Lighting Design/Installation: Adam Vachon
Textile Design: Anastasia Schneider
Costume Design: Galina Mihaleva
Costume Construction: Jacqueline Benard
Scenic Construction/Installation: John Tzelepis
Special thanks to the School of Film, Dance and Theatre at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts for the use of props and technical resources.