Following in the path of Simonides of Ceos (Kea), the Greek Poet and father of modern mnemonics, Yairi proposes that images are oftentimes easier to remember than abstract ideas or words. In order to remember large amounts of knowledge, people create places, either real or fantastic, within their imaginations. These “Palaces of Memory,” as an idea and a term both over two thousand years old, are where one locates the mental images that symbolize the things they chose to remember. The process of remembering takes place as a “journey” through these spaces created by the mind.
Yuval Yairi works by an artistic process that mimics the natural process of memory. After choosing a space to photograph, the artist works meticulously frame by frame, moving the camera only slightly each time. In this way, for hours or days, he collects the details of the space into the camera’s memory. The physical space becomes a part of both the natural memory of the artist and the artificial memory of the camera. When the artist later combines different parts of the space into one picture, it is a process of remembrance. Through this technique, Yairi both tries to intensify his own memory of the space as well as to stretch this memory beyond the limitations of one moment as he exceeds the boundaries of traditional photography.
Furthermore, Yairi has chosen to depict locations that are well suited to the subject of memory. Places of personal memory, shared memory, historical memory, of preservation, of perpetuation, of forgetting and of denying. Places very different from each other, but nevertheless with a common thread: these are all places that were themselves palaces of memory or that could be used to create palaces of memory.