Thursday, April 24, 2014

what is emptiness?

Today I received some mailart from Vvinni Gagnepain of a kind that I treasure for its rarity, in that it was created as a response to some etegami I had sent to him. This is the moment when mailable art becomes a dialogue. And when it's done cleverly, this dialogue can continue for quite some time without getting the least bit boring.

Some of you may remember my Holes and Other Empty Spaces series, and if you don't, please go to part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4. so that you can see what Vvinni has responded to.

My series was an exploration of different kinds of empty space. Vvinni's response is a suggestion that emptiness doesn't exist. He writes on the back of the card: "my reply... comes from the idea that what we may perceive as empty is either astronomically far away or very small, and that, in effect emptiness doesn't exist (except on an atomic level, [but] maybe that will be the next card)."

Update: In June, 2014, I received this sequel to the earlier mailart from Vvinni. The image didn't scan very well, but the message on the back starts out like this: "As promised, here's a follow-up card to the previous one. This one is based on the molecular idea of emptiness wherein almost 90% of all matter is empty space..." Vvinni gets quite philosophical as he explores how emptiness at the molecular level affects (or symbolizes) our feeling of isolation and un-connectedness to one another. All those thoughts packed into this simple graph-like image!


  1. A never ending definition and such an art to try and define emptiness.

  2. What a fun way to have a discussion! Though I'm wondering if space or atoms are both equally empty and/or full :)

  3. It's a wonderful piece of mailart, and a very succinct way of exploring a difficult concept. Fascinating.