Flora: A Study in Postcards by Travis Alber.
“We are surrounded by pieces of the past--concrete messages from lives that have
gone before us. Yet these artifacts are largely ignored in our present world of planned
obsolescence and digital communication. My project combines unsuspecting messages
from a past life, my interpretations of those messages, and a computer interface through
which to understand them.
In the summer of 1998 I discovered a number of postcards from the year 1947.
They were sent by a twenty-something woman named Flora who traveled the United States
alone, sending postcards to her family. The postcards moved me because Flora and I have
many things in common: our ages, upbringing, and struggles, and because she traveled
alone in that era. My project focuses on studying the cards, the notes they delivered, and
my own impressions gathered from them. I was able to categorize the cards into four
dominant themes: age, sense of place, time, and communication (primarily with family),
and from those themes I created two separate storylines. The first storyline focuses on the
death of a friend and the personal ramifications involved in such an event; the second story
deals with the marriage of a friend and the tension between independence and love.
The project was completed as an interactive CD-ROM using Macromedia Director.
My two objectives were: to create, with the aid of the real postcards, sound, graphic
design, text, a believable Flora character, and to discuss my own feelings about issues
presented in the storyline. My opinions were visible in Flora’s writings, but were also
presented on screens of their own. Using a computer allowed me to present other aspect
of the experience: the sounds gave a sense of place, the graphic design of the Forties gave a
sense of time, the writings gave a sense of age and filial communication. My two objectives
were accomplished in the creation of these elements.”
Academic year 2008/2009