Friday, May 11, 2007

Postal Dividends

The mail contained an unexpected treasure this afternoon.

From the H

Dead Cat

This work does not come out of the proverbial void, it is part of the H's ongoing visual quest. The tag on her blog, "There aren't enough plastic bags to fill it all" provides the first clue.

Plastic Bags

In this disposable culture, plastic bags are a ubiquitous by-product of commerce. They are used once, and then destined for the land-fill. Sadly, many bags don't make it that far and they litter our lives. Many would consider this a tragedy, but not the H. A bag holds (ha ha) promise, it symbolizes "containment" and it also can be used to stow one's bottle-cap collection any other detritus one runs across in one's daily travels, or whatever "it" is.

Beer Bottle

"bottle caps" image copyright Heather Morgan

If one looks for garbage, one won't ever be disappointed. I am not going to say that the artist "finds beauty in that which is overlooked" because that is cliche. The H might find (and this is wild wild guessing on the part of the writer) a world hidden in a bottle cap. Or perhaps she finds getting lost in the hills, valleys and the labyrinthine wrinkles therapeutic. Maybe the rust spots look like a secret map. Nothing is below or beneath her notice. The insignificant can be mined for a surprising commentary.

The Story

H went to art school shortly after high school. She left her smallish town and plunged into heart of Los Angeles. She was there, circa 1993, and the postcard depicts the view from her window. It looks like a crime scene, with the phrase "dead cat" as one of the first things the viewer sees. With her loving attention, this scene of a typical, seedy alley turns into something strangely clinical and macabre.


In place of the traditional stamp, the H has placed a small, Sharpie-enhanced, cut-out of Mixcoatl (pronounced mish KO tl). A stamp shows that a fee has been paid, so that the domestic postal service will carry the parcel to the recipient. Stamps are decorative and functional, and they play symbolic homage to the country they are from. According to my internet source, he is the Aztec god of the hunt, and like Prometheus, brought fire to humanity. Los Angeles has deep, historic connections to Mexico, where Mixcoatl hales. His Aztec celebrations included roasted game and human sacrifice.

Pizza Velez

On the right side, H points out a discarded pizza box, with the label "Pizza Velez." "Velez" sounds like it could be a Mexican name. Pizza is classic American food, but if it had to have a nationality associated with it, it would be Italian. Many pizza places have neutral names, like Round Table or Straw Hat, but they often have italianish names, like Luigi's or Tony's. Velez didn't take that route, and H is pointing out the rich cultural recombination that is happening around her.

There will be more postcards to come...

I sure hope so.

Related Links

Rosa's Thoughts On Garbage


Rosa said...

re:plastic bags-I'm reminded of something we found in Scotland, and so I'm hopping back over to my blog to write about it, so I don't do it all here.......

Anonymous said...

Gosh. I feel really special now. And to think, I was going to throw that old photo away. Thanks!

Camille said...

No, Thank You, H


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