Postcard exhibition redefines intercontinental connection and belonging

An hommage to Meg who gave us the tea pot for the journey
Christina receiving a Buddhist blessing.
Our driver, an instant friend. E
An hommage to Meg who gave us the tea pot for the journey Christina receiving a Buddhist blessing. Our driver, an instant friend. E

After eight years, more than 30,000 kilometres and several handfuls of stamps, an international photographic exhibition exploring layers of human connection has come home to Melbourne.

World Moments has opened at Magnet Galleries in Docklands, presenting an installation of photography made into postcards and sent to friends of Photographer Eva Rugel as she travelled overland with her family from Melbourne to Freiburg, Germany.

Over 13 months, Eva took 37,000 photographs as the family journeyed through 24 countries, turning her favourite images into 412 postcards which were sent to family and friends as they progressed along their route.

She asked each recipient to keep the card, and loan it back to her for an exhibition at the end of the journey – providing a multi-layered exploration of connectedness.

The postcard installation has been exhibited alongside other pictures from the trip in Freiburg, Germany and in Japan, before making its final public foray this week in Melbourne. At the end of the exhibition, postcard recipients from Melbourne who loaned their cards will be reunited with their correspondence – closing many loops of communication and connection

“In a century when aeroplanes rule the skies and social media rules the mind, I wanted to explore ways to capture and share not just what we saw as we travelled, but also dimensions of the beautiful connections we maintain now regardless of our physical location,” Eva said.

“The exhibition shows the two faces of our trip. Pictures on the front capture glimpses of the new territory we were exploring, and the new connections we made fleetingly with people that we met along the way – while the text on the back capture some of our emotions as we progressed further away from the people in Melbourne who we had loved like family.

“The exhibition also asks questions about the place of a family in the world. We grew up in Germany, but spent seven years making amazing connections with people in Melbourne before packing up a rustic campervan we affectionately called ‘Bruce’ and heading north.

“We experienced new senses of belonging – returning home to our parents and roots; leaving behind a second home, with so many deep friendships; and yet also trying to be present in between, in the new places that we visited on our journey between our two homelands.

 

“The use of postcards and handwritten messages seemed a fitting medium – a throwback to a recent, but largely lost form of communication, at a time when we were undertaking a trip using a recent, but now largely unused form of transport to move between two distant countries.”

 

The family visited Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and finally Germany during their 13-month adventure.

World Moments will be exhibited from Thursday, 4 August, to Friday, 19 August, at Magnet Galleries Melbourne, SC G19, Wharf St, Docklands Melbourne.
The exhibition is open daily Tuesday to Saturday – 10am to 4pm. Admission is free.

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