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100 Returned Postcards

100 previously written and posted postcards, sent back to their original recipients.

Each found postcard was addressed to a different home in Cleveland, Ohio and originally sent between 1906 and 1998. I added a return address and valid stamp and put them back in the mail. 74 postcards found their destination, 26 were returned. The returned postcards are displayed in a numbered grid on the gallery wall. New returned postcards are added as they are come back.

I wonder if any of the 100 postcards crossed paths at any point with their original journey. Were they perhaps sorted for the second time into the same post office cubbyhole, handled by the same postal workers, or ended up in the same mailbox? The returned postcards came back bearing the evidence of their second processing; double postmarks, rubber-stamped¬†“Insufficient postage” and handwritten codes and crossings out. The others were perhaps received once again by their original recipient, or by their children, or the people who have since moved into their house. A message from the past read again by the same, older eyes.

100 Returned Postcards is one of four pieces I have in the exhibition Realization is Better than Anticipation at MOCA Cleveland, curated by Megan Lykins Reich and Rose Bouthillier and open until October 13th, 2013.

Download PDF of all 100 sent postcards and transcriptions.