Postal Collage

Project Description, Notes and Schedule

PROJECT DESCRIPTION 

The Postal Collage Project is an annual, six-month, six-stage, global mail-art collaboration. There is no fee to participate, but collaborators cover their own postage.

Working in groups of five, participants send and receive works-in-progress, and contribute to that progress.

The delivery pattern is circular. Each collage-in-progress returns to its originator for completion after four others have contributed. Each participant is the Principal Author of one collage (the one they start and finish), and a Contributing Author of four others.

PREPARATION

Before collage work begins, working-groups are formed. Participants are assigned to groups by the project coordinator —OR— working-groups can be self-organized. When a group has been assembled, members introduced to one another, a delivery pattern determined, and necessary mailing addresses exchanged, collage work may begin.

More information about working-groups can be found HERE.

THE PROCESS IN STAGES

STAGE ONE • Initiation
Each and every participant will start a collage, and will thereafter be called the Initiator, or Originator, of that work-in-progress. 

On a separate piece of paper, each Initiator will write their name and the date, plus any expressive, strategic, or documentary information they wish to pass along.

FIRST PASS
Each Initiator will deliver the new work-in-progress (their ‘starter-collage’) with the accompanying informational sheet to the group-member who follows them in the sequence (their ‘send-to’ person). Thus, each will receive a work-in-progress and info sheet from the group-member who precedes them in the sequence (their ‘get-from’ person).

STAGE TWO • Contribution
Each participant will contribute to the collage they’ve received. They will add their name and the date to the accompanying informational sheet, along with any additional information they wish to include.

SECOND PASS
Each participant will, like before, deliver the work-in-progress and info sheet to their send-to person.

STAGE THREE • Contribution
•See Stage Two
THIRD PASS
•See Second Pass
STAGE FOUR • Contribution
•See Stage Two
FOURTH PASS
•See Second Pass
STAGE FIVE • Contribution
•See Stage Two

FIFTH PASS • Full Circle
See Second Pass. At this point, when the work is delivered, each participant will receive back the collage they, themselves, initiated, now altered/developed by the group.

STAGE SIX • Completion
Each participant will complete the collage they initiated, and thereafter be considered the Principal Author of that collage. Each Principal Author will deliver their completed collage for exhibition.

Please deliver completed collages to:
Berkeley Commonplace
2571 Shattuck Avenue, 1A
Berkeley, CA, USA 94704
In person delivery is available. DETAILS

NOTES

COMMITMENT

Participation requires a modest, though not insignificant commitment. Please carefully consider the following, before committing:
• Participants can expect to spend a few —maybe several— dollars on postage each month for six months.
The project timeline must be respected. Consistent, timely deliveries promote a healthy project environment, and ensure on-schedule, full-circle returns of collages to their Originators.
• Each participant accepts responsibility for the completion of the piece they initiate, and agrees to deliver that piece for exhibition.

AUTHORSHIP, AUTONOMY

Each collaborator will be the Principal Author of one collage (the one they start & finish), and a Contributing Author of four others. 

Each and every collaborator is autonomous at each and every stage. A Principal Author, when starting a collage, and when completing the collage they started, has sole authority regarding development and completion of the piece. Likewise, a Contributing Author, while making their contribution, has sole authority regarding development of the work-in-progress. When the contribution is made, and the work is passed along, that authority is relinquished to the next contributor.

CONSIDERATIONS of SIZE, WEIGHT, and MATERIALS

Larger, heavier, bulkier works-in-progress will cost more to deliver than smaller, lighter, flatter work. When initiating your collage, and when contributing to others, consider the costs fellow collaborators may incur, remembering that some participants have limited resources.

Also remember: Each and every collaborator is autonomous at each and every stage. This creative freedom empowers any Contributor to reduce an oversized work-in-progress, in any way, to suit their situation. 

Also consider your fellow collaborators when choosing materials. Avoid dangerous and commonly offensive objects and substances (sharp, explosive, toxic, noxious, perishable, etc).

Addendum, March 2024 :: As written above, no specific size limitation is given. Nonetheless, a ‘typical’ size emerges, approximately one square foot. Due to space limitations, collages greater than 5x the typical size may be excluded from exhibition. Collages so excluded will be represented by a photographic print approximating typical size.

DOCUMENTATION

Participants are strongly encouraged to take progress photographs and process videos, and to write down reflections and experiences. Documentary material can be uploaded to the Round Table Collaboration website. At selected exhibitions, a progress/process video-slideshow will accompany the completed collages.

All documentation enriches the project and is very much appreciated. 

COMMUNICATION

Collaborators are encouraged to communicate, at the very least to keep one another apprised of progress and delays.

When referring to any collage other than your own, it’s most helpful to call it by the name of its Originator. For example, the collage started by Askush Nuk would be, “Askush Nuk’s collage, or, Askush’s.” Simple messages, such as, “I received Askush Nuk’s collage today,” or, “Askush’s was mailed on Monday,” are helpful for keeping track of progress. Knowing who-started-what becomes increasingly important toward the end of the timeline, when everyone will be anticipating the return of their own original collage.

Over the course of several months, people’s schedules change, sometimes suddenly, and in unforeseen ways. Prompt communication and patience are very much appreciated.

OWNERSHIP

At the end of the exhibition season, each Principal Author will make arrangements to retrieve their collage, or allow it to become part of the Berkeley Commonplace Collaborative Collage Collection. The Collection is being catalogued and will be maintained for posterity. Selections will be included in ongoing, rotating exhibitions. 

Collages retrieved by mail will be subject to postage and handling costs.

If, by the end of the calendar year, no arrangements have been made, an unclaimed collage becomes part of The Collection. (Future retrieval is possible.)

THE SCHEDULE

WORK TIMELINE
Send By‘ dates are recommendations aimed at assuring timely deliveries. Actual delivery times will vary. ‘Received Bydates are deadlines.

•    On September 1, collage work officially begins
•    On or before September 15, first post sent
•    By October 1, first post received
•    On or before October 15, second post sent
•    By November 1, second post received
•    On or before November 15, third post sent
•    By December 1, third post received
•    On or before December 15, fourth post sent
•    By January 1, fourth post received
•    On or before January 15, fifth post sent
•    By February 1, fifth post received (full circle)
•    On or before February 15, collages are completed and delivered for exhibition.
•    By March 1, finished collages arrive ready for exhibition

EXHIBITION SEASON
There will be 2-3 exhibitions during spring and summer, beginning as early as the last weekend in March, continuing as late as the end of August.

Please deliver completed collages to:
Berkeley Commonplace
2571 Shattuck Avenue, 1A
Berkeley, CA, USA 94704
In person delivery is available. DETAILS