Susan Jahoda

Performance, mixed media installation, dimensions variable, 2001

 

Flight Patterns concerns a person writing and sending letters to herself at addresses in ten cities across the United States. Her return address and the letters’ destinations are vacant lots where residential buildings no longer exist. These letters are found to be undeliverable by the post office, and are returned to the sender, who is also unable to be found. Contained within each envelope is a segment of a narrative, and in most cases, a photograph. The narrative develops over the duration of the mailings.

 

The letter writer’s last name, Belagera, is an anagram for Elegbara, the trickster figure who appears in West Africa and the African Diaspora. He is a messenger, linguist, metaphysician, and interpreter who presides over the crossroads as a divine mediator of information and communication.

 

I wish to thank Warren Heckstall, manager of the Mott-Haven Post Office in the South Bronx, and Lydia Vega, the mail carrier for route #1. Without their collaboration this project would not have been possible.