Epistolary is a digital exhibition and self-guided tour of the city featuring a collection of love letters to Melbourne.
Co-curators Tarryn Handcock and Paul Yacoumis worked together on this project in response to the extended lockdown restrictions that the city experienced during 2020-21.
Epistolary is a proposition for (re-)connecting with and caring for the places that we love from afar — through memory, imagination and digital technology. By inviting people to create a love letter to place, and to view the love that others share, the Epistolary is a way to intimately re-discover Melbourne through creative and collective expressions of love.
The project asks: What does a love letter to a city look like? And what does a loved city look like?
Epistolary writing (letter-writing) has long been seen as a way to gain insight into how we make sense of our place in the world.
Letters travel between people and places, often traversing the blurry territory between private and public; through them we can express our observations and uncertainties, fears and desires.
Letters are usually addressed to another person, who we hope will reciprocate — perhaps even with a letter of their own. However, in this project, epistolary writing is approached from a different angle.
These love letters – which are so often a private endeavour – are presented in a public forum, as open letters to a city. The format of the letters is also open, allowing authors to express themselves in the way they know best. And rather than being addressed to another human, all the letters in Epistolary are addressed to places.
MELBOURNE DESIGN WEEK
Epistolary launched as part of Melbourne Design Week 2021, and is part of an ongoing project exploring ways of connecting and caring for place.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
As a project concerned with place, the curators of Epistolary acknowledge all First Peoples of this land and celebrate their enduring connections to Country, knowledge and stories. In particular, we pay our respects to the Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung language groups of the Eastern Kulin Nations, on whose lands this project takes place, and pay our respects to Elders and Ancestors, past, present and emerging. These always were and always will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands.