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, The Street Gallery of Bath Spa University and Cardiff University Special Collections Library. Posters of the project have been shown at the Istanbul Architecture Festival and in the Collins Memorial Library of the University of Puget Sound, Washington.
The tour continues in 2023 to Essex 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.