A Memory Palace for the Collective Mind (Hagerman 2021)

Author: Shelby Hagerman

Thesis Advisor: Ozayr Saloojee and Zachary Colbert

Date: 2021

Master of Architecture

Carleton University



This thesis explores the notion of the memory palace to investigate how the world we live in can be imagined in the mind. Manhattan, New York City, is a memory palace that reframes and reorients agency, understanding and concern about the complexities of climate change. It becomes a shared mnemonic, exploring how a device that is typically individual can be curated to consider a collective mind. The creation of portals (micro and macro shadow boxes) that hold juxtaposed artifacts invite new understandings and imaginations of places in the city. They situate the local within the planetary, the individual within the collective, and the human-made within the expansive realms of the nonhuman. This project reflects on what it means to consider the present as something that reaches deep into the past, beyond typical human stories and scales to establish profound understandings of place, memory, and climate change.