Memory Fragments — Venice

Matt Miller
2 min readJul 11, 2017

When geography is stored in your brain as audio for twelve years and finally merged into reality surrounded by pigeons.

“Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that. Memory runs her needle in and out, up and down, hither and thither. We know not what comes next, or what follows after. Thus, the most ordinary movement in the world, such as sitting down at a table and pulling the inkstand towards one, may agitate a thousand odd, disconnected fragments, now bright, now dim, hanging and bobbing and dipping and flaunting, like the underlinen of a family of fourteen on a line in a gale of wind.” — Virginia Woolf

I listened to this band in the early 2000s called The Books, a lot of found samples combined to create catchy audio collage. They had a song in 2005 called Venice which is principally comprised of a reporter narrating a 1966 Salvador Dali painting/performing in San Marco Square in Venice Italy.

It’s not like I thought a lot about Venice, but if it ever came into my brain I was reminded of that 1:50 second audio clip. There is no description of the city or the square in the song, just the event. But it became my mental marker for the concept of the city. I never thought I would go there but I was able to this summer for a conference.

Thinking about how much of your memory of a physical place is tied to events that occur in them I wanted to combine the two, the song fragment, and the physicality of being there. I did not want to lose the song as my association, beat out by some guys feeding pigeons out of their hands for tourists. So I listened to the song as I walked into the main square:

geography meets memory

I really liked the idea of curating the creation of memories, a hermetic action reinforced by artifacts of the video and this writing. I’m not sure if it worked, only time will tell. In a few years I’ll see the word Venice or St. Mark and find what my memory conjures up.