“I collect postcards from all over, and I’ve recently started looking for old ones—they have an element of mystery that presents a sort of decoding game.”
Pseudo Nostalgic Trips Down Someone Else’s Memory Lane
I found this postcard at a pop-up, flea-esque table near the Morgan stop of the L train. I collect postcards from all over, and I’ve recently started looking for old ones—they have an element of mystery that presents a sort of decoding game. It intrigues me how this postcard was meant for a specific audience and is now mine. I am the audience, an uninvited guest to a show that’s long been closed.
While a huge part of the “game” is figuring out the context—when the postcard was sent, to whom, what the sender is doing—the best part is the sentiment of it. With postcards, it can be difficult because there’s so little text being sent. The postcard may not be send in the same place it is bought, or even at the same time. There is a reason why the sender picked a person to send the postcard to. There is a reason for disclosing certain amounts of information on the postcard. And the absolute inability to retrieve this information poses questions as to my role as an interpreter: can I truly interpret something if I am missing such valuable information to its meaning?
I made a playlist that encompasses the “genre” of emotion that may be behind the words. It basically spans the nuances of the fun of traveling, the tenderness of writing something for someone, and a sense of nostalgia for an event that has nothing to do with me. In a sense, I’m completely creating an emotional palette for a situation in a time and place I have no way of knowing about. I could be heavily corrupting the work, or I could be completely right. I have no way of knowing. It’s an extremely invasive thing to give a soundtrack to something that does not belong to me. Using audio strips away the visual element to the point that it would be impossible to retrieve the visual if we were trying to translate the piece back to its original self.