Dare to Look Down! – New Perspectives

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Writer: Jack McNamara

Perhaps with all the holidays being taken in Britain at the moment, rather than trips abroad, the postcard will come back into fashion. A postcard sent from Skegness or Brighton seemed an easier task than sending one from Benidorm or Rome with the palaver of queuing up for stamps in foreign post offices. You’d usually be back in Blighty before it arrived, anyway. New Perspectives, always living up to its name, have created a project that uses the humble postcard in its latest project.

Postcards often tell of dipping your toes into the sea, but these postcards dip into time, with the first one arriving through your door seemingly written in 1896. The sender, an impoverished aristocrat writes about the garden parties that she must hold in order to keep up the big house, a sketch of which adorns the front of the postcard. The imposing group of buildings, some with castellated towers may look unfamiliar, but over the coming weeks, as the postman brings more postcards, the location is revealed.

To divulge more of the stories contained in this one-sided correspondence would spoil the gentle and old-fashioned pleasure that is to be gained from waiting for the postman to arrive. Some cards are handwritten, and it may take a few moments to decipher each word – though, sadly, this writing has been printed on the postcard and this mass-market approach does rather undermine the personal response that New Perspectives are aiming for. At least the stamps appear to be stuck on by hand.

In total, six cards will be sent to your address and slowly the title of the project will make sense. ‘Dare To Look Down’ suggests that the material on the postcard in your hand will be challenging in some way, but instead the title will evoke holidays and days out, ice creams and the Great British queue. The cards span decades, and there are some neat touches that tie the narrative together.

With only six cards over a month, the overall story does feel slight, and forgettable. But what more can you write in such a limited space? Answers on a postcard please!

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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