Two Hundred and Forty-three Postcards in Real Colour.
Georges Perec’s postcard messages, dedicated to his friend Italo Calvino, appeared as a long list, with not a single image. Written in 1978, they were translated into English by John Sturrock in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, in 1997.
Constructed with mathematical precision, they describe hedonistic vacations that we can only dream about. Perec’s holiday-makers travel through alphabets, relaxing and sunbathing, making historic and literary connections on the way, with no mention of the journeys nor the bills. The messages seem a little repetitive and formulaic, but as both the men were members of OuLiPo, that is perhaps hardly surprising. The first clue to unravelling the secrets is to ask why 243? Our aim was to respond to this work as artists by making a postcard, adding the missing image to the message, and then posting the physical postcard.
Postcards images have been offered to the project from twenty-two countries, from California to Queensland via Kathmandu. They have been exhibited at UWE Bower Ashton Library, Winchester School of Art library and on The Street Gallery of Bath Spa University.
The cards are currently looking very good on show in Cardiff University Special Collections and Archives (Arts and Social Sciences Library). The exhibition is open by appointment Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org to plan before making a journey.
There is no on-site parking, but spaces seem easy to find at meters in the nearby Museum Avenue and College Road area, and Cathays train station is very close. Pedestrian access is via Corbett Road. The postcards will be there until the end of January.
Posters of the project were shown as part of the Istanbul Architecture Festival at the end of October 2022 and are now installed at the Collins Memorial Library of the University of Puget Sound, Washington, until 14th January 2023. The tour will continue in 2023 to Essex, Washington State and Sydney, completing return journeys for the postcards and their messages.
Cropped images of the postcards and the exhibitions can be enjoyed on Instagram, @postcards_for_perec.