ghost of a package i sent to my brother

2020

ghost of a package i sent to my brother is an exploration of the shifting dynamics of relationship, exchange, and care due to the distance resulting from living in the midst of a global pandemic. The artwork consists of a felt box filled with hollow, hand-sewn replicas of what are originally usable objects - a button down shirt, a bag of coffee beans, a favourite chocolate bar. These originals are produced en masse. They hold value in their purpose as either wearable or consumable objects. In contrast, the process of hand-stitching calls attention to care, time, and investment. The seemingly insignificant, everyday, and machine-produced original objects are assigned a new form of preciousness in their careful replication.

In this act of care, an attempt is made to hold onto the shells of these objects as they travel the 12,500 kilometers from the post office to my brother’s door. Sending the original package, full of goods that my brother enjoys but is unlikely to purchase for himself, acts as a recognizable token of affection. However, it is not just these objects that will be mailed - their replicas will follow them in the post.

This act of mailing the handmade objects problematizes gestures of care and notions of value. The hand-sewn felt box cannot withstand the same handling as typical shipping materials. If it is flagged and must be checked before continuing to its destination, there is no way of opening the package that doesn’t potentially destroy it or its contents. Will each delivery service provider pay heed to the hand-stitched instructional labels that this package is fragile, and should be handled with care? Passing through their hands, all individuals who come in contact with this unlikely package must evaluate whether it will continue on its way, or if it will be flagged, stopped at borders, pulled from the post, or returned to the sender. In this, considerations must be made that question the value of the package: does its preciousness reside in its status as an art object, or as an object being sent from one person to another?