Letter Project

The Letter Project

 

2000 -

 

Landscapes and civic structures are often historically grounded by being displayed in before and after visual representations. The subject is the same in both images and the viewer can easily spot the changes that accumulate over a long period of time.

 

The destinations for these missives were houses and commercial blocks built to last a lifetime but often outlived by the simple pieces of fragile paper. Someone's home could now be a fast food outlet or a parking lot. Known, mundane details of the everyday obscure tender details of the individual. Even when the very same structure stands before us, the past is revealed in the built world where palpable history surrounds us invisibly.

In my project, using postcards and letters as a device to measure change against the current state of their intended stopping places, the past becomes intimate. The correspondence ranges from the mid-nineteenth century, before the use of postage stamps, until about 1980. At their original destination again we can speculate creatively on the contents of the mail and its recipient. Seen together, an intimacy between the built and the ephemeral emerges.

 

 

 

Oakville Vancouver Regina/Winnipeg Berlin

Text by John O'Brian