THE MEMORY THEATRE OF GIULIO CAMILLO

Installation

Premiered in New York, NY

1986

Giulio Camillo was a sixteenth-century architect/philosopher whose explorations of human memory led him to construct a “memory theater” that possessed magical powers: those who entered it would emerge with a memory of all the knowledge of the world. A commedia dell’arte troupe, directed by Matthew Maguire, guides an audience through the labyrinth in the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage vaults, the paths of Camillo’s mind. The installation theatrically spears three successive chambers of the Anchorage with two discrete structural units that cantilever toward one another but never meet. Exploring the aesthetics of danger, the installation produces a Janusian moment: a gap, which is no longer here but not yet there–a synapse that can only be bridged tentatively by the stride. The structure is tensioned into place against the thick masonry walls and apertures of one bay of the Anchorage.

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