Postcard Project // Manhattan Map
From Fall 2008 through Spring 2009, within my last year living in New York City, I obsessively created hundreds of pre-stamped, self-addressed postcards, omitting my name. Written on each postcard was the prompt, “Tell me one thing you dream of doing before you die. Use this card as your canvas,” as well as a code on the bottom corner. I then left these postcards in public spaces all over Manhattan, using the codes to record where I placed each one. When the postcards returned to me, I was able to tell where each had been found, and, gradually, I pieced together a map of the city from all these people’s dreams.

It was an exploration in breaking down barriers between:

- the private and the public (by its nature, letter-writing is an intimate act—although it's interesting to note that, with postcards, anyone who intercepts your card can read what you wrote—and here were these people sharing their deepest fears and greatest hopes with me, a nameless, faceless stranger, perhaps emboldened by the safety net of anonymity, or motivated by that very human desire to connect, to be recognized, to know that someone, anyone, knows about you);

- artist and audience (I may have been the originator of the project, but was I the artist or were these people the artists, or both?); and

- geographical boundaries (did the dreams of Upper East Siders differ that greatly from those in Alphabet City? on Wall Street? would the fine upstanding citizens there even pay attention to a handmade postcard taped up onto a street light?).

It was a labor of love.

Some replies are NSFW.

These have been uploaded in no particular order. (Someday, I'll find all my records of the codes and their corresponding locations and map them again!)

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UPDATE: I am now revamping this project in Chicago, on a much, much larger scale. You can read more about it at artistsonthelam.blogspot.com/p/dreams-of-city.html (I also finally gave the project a name: Dreams of a City.)
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