Ersilia – A project about connections

I’m taking part in an event called Invisible City in Schiedam, NL in August, and coincidentally came across Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities. Connections abound, as several of the chapters are titled ‘Trading Cities’, a similar title to the next project (Trading Station) to be undertaken by POST.

As connections have recently been appearing to me from all directions, the chapter in Calvino’s book about the city of Ersilia struck a chord; also it’s visual description of the connections between people felt like a description of a drawing.

Here is the text in full:

Trading Cities 4

In Ersilia, to establish the relationships that sustain the city’s life, the inhabitants stretch strings from the corners of the houses, white or black or gray or black-and-white according to whether they mark a relationship of blood, of trade, authority, agency. When the strings become so numerous that you can no longer pass among them, the inhabitants leave: the houses are dismantled; only the strings and their supports remain.
From a mountainside, camping with their household goods, Ersilia’s refugees look at the labyrinth of taut strings and poles that rise in the plain. That is the city of Ersilia still, and they are nothing.
They rebuild Ersilia elsewhere. They weave a similar pattern of strings which they would like to be more complex and at the same time more regular than the other. Then they abandon it and take themselves and their houses still farther away.
Thus, when travelling in the territory of Ersilia, you come upon the ruins of abandoned cities, without the walls which do not last, without the bones of the dead which the wind rolls away: spiderwebs of intricate relationships seeking a form.

In response to this I’ve decided to set up my own international postal exhibition project that highlights my links to places that I visit and the artists, curators and galleries that I have worked with in the past, or would like to work with in the future, creating my own Ersilia. I’m not going to write where and who I send them to, you’ll have to wait until air mail comes through your letterbox, however, I do plan to create a map of where I send them to and from as a record of my travels and activity.

I’ve started this project off during my recent trip to Portugal, where I have continued to play with the concept of ‘tearing space apart’, but was also distracted by the fabulous patterned pavements using black and white cobbles. Here are the 5 works I produced, three of which are in transit right now (2 were too large for an envelope and I wasn’t as fond of them)

Cracks 1: Watersoluble Graphite and pencil on paper

Portuguese Pavement I: Graphite and black tempera on paper

Portuguese Pavement II: Collage, black tempera on paper

White postcard on black: Collage, black tempera and paper

Portuguese Pavement III: Pencil on paper