The Absent Collector

The Absent Collector is an ongoing project investigating the contents of a bag of letters and postcards found on a roadside near Palermo, Sicily, in 2009. Various Italian speakers were asked to translate one or more letters into English and to interpret and speculate on what the letters might have meant and what they reveal about the correspondents’ lives and relationships.

Translations by: Rebecca Agnes, Kristine Alksne, Salvatore Arancio, Duncan Brown, Lina Maugham, Gloria Lombardi, Gregorio Pagliaro, Marco Palmieri, Claudio Rivetti, Pablo Robledo, Stefania Sales, Steve Sorba

The project has been shown at Crate, Margate, in 2010 and in 90mq, Berlin, 2011.

As part of the Crate project, a further element was introduced after a pamphlet was found in the Margate Library local history archive. A Plain Statement of a Late Base Conspiracy is the confusing story of a man in Margate in 1837 who felt persecuted by gossip in the town about why his uncle cut him out of his will. The gossip was literally spread around the streets by graffiti and ‘printed placards’. In Project Space 2, Lucy Harrison showed the pamphlet along with photographs from a walk around the locations mentioned in it.