Chuchotage

by Jess(ie)

Post cards from PoM, 2018, PNG flag made from coloured envelopes, watercolour paper, shelf

In July 2018 I will be moving to Papua New Guinea for 12 months. As a way to extend this exhibition beyond the gallery space I will be creating and sending post cards from my new home in Port Moresby (PoM). If you would like to receive one, please write your name and address on one of the cards provided and slip it into the envelope to your left.

Dear Zayn, your post is like rainbows in my letterbox, 2000-18, personal correspondence, coloured paper, shelf

Post its from the Pacific, 2016-18, post-it notes, pencil drawing

 

Highlights from Chuchotage, SASA Gallery, Adelaide. Group exhibition with Brad Lay and Philip Gibson, a research based response to the concept of communicating in intimate settings.

 

My catalogue Essay:

I’ll meet you here at 3.30pm

Some of my most treasured possessions are words that have been hastily scribbled by friends onto pieces of paper or post it notes. Things like, “I’ll meet you here at 3.30pm” and “This gift comes with love from the ladies at the Catholic Centre.”

At the moment they are stuck to my bedroom mirror with blu-tak, having lost their stickiness long ago; their edges are crumpled, the colour slightly faded from the light. Soon I will pack them into a box with a number of other handwritten notes collected over the years because despite their inconsequential nature, I cannot bring myself to throw them away.

Why? Because they provide a physical connection to a person and moment in time that still hold meaning; even when I am separated from the hand that wrote them by thousands of kilometres, or as is the case with these, many years have passed us by.

Having met overseas, many of my friends and I often find ourselves scattered around the world, unable to catch up without a great deal of trouble. Not so long ago I would have written letters, spending days or weeks putting my thoughts to paper, to fill them in on what was probably the most mundane aspects of my life. But times have changed and like many people now, I have a smart phone and a laptop and rely on Skype, Facebook and Whatsapp to keep in touch. Such apps are easy and immediate, letting me communicate with many people at once and with those who live far away. They are a handy way to make plans and to arrange face to face catch ups where real connections can be made, however something is missing when the digital remains the main method of communication. Receiving a text is not the same as receiving a letter, a heart eyes emoji not as meaningful as a scrawled declaration of love.

As handy as the internet is, I treasure the moments when we manage to write something to one another, putting our individual selves back into a space where every conversation looks the same. No matter how mundane the message, a scribbled note left for me in the morning will always be special because it means that the person who wrote it and I were in the same place for a while.

There is much to be said for modern methods but a deeper connection is formed without the slickness of typed font. Knowing that they have touched what I now touch is the next best thing to having them there and I can almost feel their fingers on the paper, see the pen in their hand. I won’t remember where I am when my phone beeps with a message, but in a years’ time when I can hold these colourful scraps again I will think of my friend, remembering what it felt like to wake up in the heat on a Pacific island or to come home from work and find a parcel at my door.