Places Have Memories

Do places have memories and how shall we treat and question them? ‘Rotterdam Weg’, a project by the Spanish artist Carme Nogueira, tries to reflect over these topics in a long, interactive trip with the city, where she finds and tells us stories about the particular places she visits.

It is nice to see how she imitates the fading process of memories using chalks to draw sentences on the streets that are related to photos or documents she found about what really happened in that place. It makes sense to ask questions about what art can do for the memory of places in the city and how can it really interact with the history.

But what also immediately caught my attention is the similarity of the process with another, more contemporary form of spreading memories, which is Google Buzz. Although it may sound strange to compare such different medias, the Buzz system works as a remote amplifier for your feelings in a particular place, leaving your memories in a virtual space related to the one where you are, for a limited lapse of time. Buzz is an open network of geographically located personal news, that can be seen by anybody else using the software.

Even though, a virtual system like this does not leave its mark in the city, creating instead a sort of parallel world with no traces outside the iPhone. Shouldn’t we instead pick up chalks and go all out to write our memories? ‘Rotterdam Weg’ images and related thoughts are published in a limited number as a nice collection of posters and were showed in an exhibition in the same city of Rotterdam. You can find more informations about the project here.