“People don’t really bother investing in their own memory anymore,” states French graphic designer Amaury Hamon. “Digital devices remember everything for us. Our memory is externalised, left unchallenged,” he explains. Despite this, we live in a world of self-improvement – one of self-help books and motivational Instagram pages – and so Amaury set about creating his own manual, that reeducates us on how to use our own capacity to remember.
Throughout the 360 pages of Grandmaster Mind, Amaury gradually presents the art of memory – an ancient discipline that involves a set of techniques focusing on having a “cultivated memory,” similar to how medieval scholars would memorise entire books or speeches. It gradually teaches the reader how to use said techniques to “re-encode mundane data such as lists or numbers into more memorable visual narratives.”
Comprised of stock imagery, 2D imagery processed via 3D code and a literal journey from “beginner to Grandmaster,” the book finishes with a conclusion on how Grandmaster Mind’s techniques have been used to the extreme at competitions. “In those, Grandmasters of memory compete to reach the highest performance,” Amaury explains. The book finishes with a series of interviews with competitors, alongside statistics of world records and world rankings inspiring the name Grandmaster Mind.
The core technique explored throughout the project is that of the Memory Palace. It focusses on the concept of storing mental images in memorised virtual spaces (called memory palaces), often based on real places that we know such as a home or a school. “Remembering then becomes a game,” Amaury explains. Recalling what you need to involves walking around the virtual space, visiting “visual keys that, when linked together, weaves unforgettable narratives.”
The publication is routed in thorough and in-depth research, something that typifies Amaury’s approach to design: “When I first start a project, I really enjoy working as an investigator, spending hours in the library and online, finding visual references that could inspire my design core elements,” he explains. When it comes to the actual designing, he sets up systems and grids in order to make decisions objectively and not only on an emotional level. “I am fascinated by the way designers or artists achieve creativity through restraints,” he tells It’s Nice That, stating Designing Programmes by Karl Gerstner and Conditional Design Workbook by Luna Maurer, Roel Wouters, Jonathan Puckey and Edo Paulus as inspirations for his own practice.
Amaury was first introduced to a wide range of creative disciplines by his older brother, but later rooted his interests in graphic design through his love of skateboarding. Having graduated with a bachelor in graphic design from ECAL in June 2017, his practice is now divided in two parts: working as teaching assistant at ECAL and freelance designer at Studio Jonathan Hares.
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