"Everywhere in the minutiae of our material culture, we encounter reminders of the availability of authentic experiences at others times and in other places.... Picture postcards circulate throughout the world tying tourists together in networks and linking the tourist to the attraction and to his friends at home." MacCannel 1976.
This project aims to distribute 'collectable' physical art objects (in the form of postcards) created by members of the digital networked community (digital tourists). It is also an attempt to foster community and collaboration around dplanet:: by creating a POSTCARD_network and a feedback loop (POSTCARDS are displayed on dplanet and altsense so many of the POSTCARDS include previous POSTCARDS which have been displayed).
This project was inspired by a conversation I had with Marcus Neustetter, a Johannesburg-based artist. We discussed the value of the 'art object' in digital culture and the potential manifestations of digital art in the physical world.
[Inspiration was also derived from etoy's share concept which "...is a radical transformation of art ownership in the digital age. The rigidly limited number of etoy.SHARE-UNITS available on the art market replaces the idea of the (physical) original art masterpiece."]
We also discussed the desire to avoid the dplanet:: community sharing common experiences in collective isolation. Using postcards as the medium of delivery seemed perfect.
"Postcards allow people to keep in touch without having to actually say anything. A notable thing about postcards is how trite the messages often are: "The weather is great. Wish you were here." A letter like that would be ludicrous, even rude. Yet the main point of a postcard is its subtext: I'm thinking of you, just checking in, making the rounds remotely. The picture on the card takes the place of the message. It lets the sender express a bit of his or her taste like sending a little gift." - Inhabiting the Virtual City, Judith S. Donath.
This project also deals with the environment in which digital art or design is viewed. Curators and gallery owners go to great lengths to ensure a controlled setting for viewing traditional art. As web-based screen designers we have no say in the way our work is viewed, we have no control over the physical location, monitor settings, light conditions and so on. Part of the excitement of web-based design is the notion that thousands of people in different geographical locations can be viewing the same thing at the same time in their own unique environments. Reveling in these variables is fundamental to this project.