Did You Get My Postcard? | Immediacy, Intimacy & the Time/Space Compendium of Remediated Semi-Public Correspondence
Regular readers of A Canadian Family know that I began collecting vintage postcards as a means of enriching and extending my own understanding of the local and social histories that are part of my family’s personal history. In fact, the Festival of Postcards was first conceived as a collaborative effort by family history bloggers to encourage the use of postcards as a visual resource, but morphed into a Festival of family historians and deltiologists and we all benefited from the mix. The Festival is in hiatus at the moment but I’ve come across a postcard-related blog that is one of the best I’ve seen in awhile so I’d like to share it with you right now.
“Did you get my postcard?” serves as a public platform for an interesting project by a group of graduate students in media studies at Montreal’s Concordia University. It’s built around Dave’s private postcard collection. These researchers started from the premise that private collections can be mined for their “personal, historical, geographic and autobiographical potential”. They designed a project where they would experiment with the combination of a traditional medium (postcards) with modern technology. The technical term for this is remediation and an example would be the posts which combine Dave’s postcards with audio tracks.
Family historians may want to take a look at that use of technology as well as the “Where On Earth?” section which uses Google Maps to portray the places where the postcards originated. Others may be more interested in the section on digital postcards and the use of postcards to promote social justice.
Deltiologists – or those who like to “think” about postcards, will certainly want to read the project description and the introductory essay which begins below –
“Wish You Were Here”
A wanderer chooses a postcard based on its printed image then scrawls a personal message on the flip side, before buying a stamp, licking it into place then mailing it to a significant other who is usually not somewhere else, that is to say, the person addressed on the postcard is probably in their regular status quo location. Somewhere less exotic than the one writing it.
Written on location from some faraway place, the postcard — with its national stamp and dated postal seal — is irrefutable proof of having been there, somewhere, anywhere but home.
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