on having been sixteen: postcards from the past

Cheery balloons in the rafters a very long way from the rather dark cards, how long since I was sixteen… Suspending cards from helium balloons seemed ideal; sixteenth birthday celebrational and durable enough for a one night show (as well as automatically de-installing overnight).Cheery balloons in the rafters a very long way from the rather dark cards, how long since I was sixteen… Suspending cards from helium balloons seemed ideal; sixteenth birthday celebrational and durable enough for a one night show (as well as automatically de-installing overnight).

Postcards suspended

Sixteen – not a time of life I wanted to think about atall, and very long ago.  For this installation vandalism took place. I wanted the cards to be precious enough that the brutality of spray stencils might be regretted; though I wasn’t brave enough to use my most treasured cards! The stencilled images represent a miscellany of thoughts and memories about the time when I was sixteen.

Vandalised postcards

The words on the back largely seem very negative, but through this they point both to some ways in which the world has perhaps improved, as well as to one’s own failure to fall by the wayside. The messages are terse, intended to convey the thought in as few words as possible, however people found them largely unintelligible. Clearly economy overcame clarity.

Picture postcards

More cards

Reality more harsh though, in the heat of the lovely sun-drenched skylight helium leaked out of the balloons in minutes rather than hours and the cards sank gracefully floorwards. After resting daintily on their edges they finally flopped flat on the floor, where people stooped to read their inscrutable words. Later, some were tied to rafters so regaining mid air.

Although sparse, this installation managed to occupy a large amount of space. The balloons enabled the cards to take up the centre of the room, suspended at nose height they had to be negotiated around, both work and viewer in motion. The postcards received their comeuppance when the balloons deflated and they ended up on the floor.

Picture postcard on high

 

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