04 January 2016

The Construction of Situations

I look at this picture and keep hearing Harrison Ford saying, "Enhance"
Cope Street, Dublin, 10th October, 2015
Background. Blooms Hotel, full building mural by James Earley, artist and street artist. Son, grandson, great-grandson of stained glass artists. Great-great grandson of John Earley, responsible for the circular stained glass window that has dominated upper Camden Street since the 1850's. Gentleman in brown, Leopold Bloom. Fictional Dubliner and a good man for walking. Son of Rudolf Virág, also fictional, a Hungarian migrant. Lived at 52 Clanbrassil Street, one thousand meters as the crow flies from John Earley's Camden Street window.

Foreground. Street-sign paste-over by Clet Abraham, French street artist living in Italy. Visitor to Dublin. Sticker, Refugees Welcome, from Sea Watch, German NGO that rescues migrants in distress in the Mediterranean Sea. Saved over 2,000 lives in 2015.

Mid-ground (right). The eaves of the Central Bank of Ireland. Soon to be the former home of the Central Bank of Ireland. Responsible through inaction for the growth and collapse of the Celtic Tiger. Site of Occupy Dame Street, October 2011 - March 2012, well-meaning but largely ineffectual folk politics.

Walking through a familiar area can often feel like you are constructing your own personal Crazy Wall, where everything you see triggers a memory that connects to other memories along invisible lines of string, a giant web of thoughts both conscious and subconscious forming around your steps. The idea of a mind palace, more formally the Method of loci, a method of visualisation used to enhance memory by associating strong images of familiar places with information to be remembered and a weak plot device employed one too many times in Sherlock, attempts to harness our tendency to create these crazy walls.

Allegedly this method works beyond the fictional tropes of television detectives, and is advocated by many a "professional" Rememberer. Unfortunately for me, my mind palace has amazingly clear 4G reception and distracting click-holes are never out of reach.

And that, my friends, is why I can offer you a plethora of psychgeographic details on a random piece of Dublin street art but completely forgot your birthday last year.


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