In the air

Ongoing mail art project in collaboration with Professor Andrew Barry. Presented as part of the Alternative Epistemologies Festival, Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL. May 5, 2021.

This art-geography collaboration aims to develop a correspondence practice that explores matters of air. The conversation continues via slow mail as a flurry of postcards and poetic objects. An experimental publication is on its way and a recording of the IAS event is available here. What follows is an outline of the work in progress.

Wednesday 7 April. Lucy wrote a letter to Andrew on a vacuum cleaner bag. It was posted from Brighton to Cambridge. The letter set off a chain reaction. It announced a theme and some logistics. There was an enclosed postcard with a return address so that Andrew could respond with further ideas (see the postcard gallery below).

Tuesday 20 April. Andrew received four parcels containing a total of eight objects. These were found or fabricated items that Lucy had curated based on previous conversations with Andrew in relation to breath, air and atmospheres. The objects were, in no particular order, a balloon filled with artist’s breath, some dust from a window sill, a mass-produced handheld fan, ‘clouds’ made from cotton wool, specimens of moss and lichen, a ‘sample’ of the sea breeze, and a protective face mask.

Wednesday 5 May. Andrew and Lucy held a talk as part of the Alternative Epistemologies Festival to celebrate five years of the IAS. During the talk, the collaborators spoke about their respective accounts of sending and receiving materials that relate to the theme of ‘in the air’. Lucy described how postal networks are similar to atmospheric processes. Andrew’s insights ranged from personal experiences of hay fever to material politics.

Ongoing… Lucy is setting up an interdisciplinary ‘air mail’ network with fellow artists and researchers around the globe. If you are interested in atmospheric matters and would like to take part, please get in touch.