Postcard from the past, mixed media, 13 x 10 centimeters, 2010Maz Dixon, an Australian artist and past contributor to this site. A few months ago, Maz asked people to suggest an historical place and time from where they would like to receive a postcard. She then created a postcard from that place and sent it in the mail. She describes the project on her blog:
Firstly, and most obviously, I’m trying to encapsulate a time and place in a single image. In true postcard fashion, this means often resorting to stereotypes or juxtapositions of images that might make sense to a visitor, but perhaps not to a resident. Postcards, as pocket-sized marketing tools, can serve as shorthand for a visitor’s preconceived notions of a place or culture, and I’ve had a bit of fun playing with these kinds of assumptions. Of course for this project I’ve tried to balance that with what the people who have requested these cards might expect. A few people asked for something that has a very particular or personal meaning for them. I’ve tried to incorporate that as possible. Lastly, I think one of the most important aspects of a postcard series is a really ghastly and completely inappropriate font.
I requested a postcard from Windhoek, Namibia in 1910, during the period of German colonization. I first became curious about Windhoek's strange colonial history during my college-aged travels in southern Africa. I visited Namibia to explore the world's tallest sand dunes, and I remember walking around the mostly-empty streets of Windhoek and being struck by the quaint German architecture, antique shops, and beer halls. Everything felt completely out of place in the middle of the barren desert.
Without knowing anything about Namibia, and based mainly on my remembered experiences, Maz created and sent me the postcard above. It's remarkable how much the scene resembles Namibia's Kolmanskop ghost town.
You should check out all of the postcards in the series here.