Taeyoon Choi

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This photograph

My photo of David Horvitz’s photo taken in Iceland, sent to me by Taeyoon Choi, in my apartment.

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I leave in a few days to do a public book project in a small town in northern Iceland. And for the last few months, I’ve been thinking about what to bring. The artist’s residency sent tips about bringing supplies, and friends have suggested various things, like picking a few significant tools or objects and shipping them beforehand, so that they’re waiting for me when I arrive.

Just in the last week, I decided that I should bring nothing. Whatever I’m going to make will come from the place, and I’m going to leave the work there. So it just makes sense that everything should happen there, during my eleven-week stay. I’ll bring a computer and camera and my clothes, of course, but if I need supplies, I’ll find them. I’m going to spend a few days in Reykjavik, where there’s a good art supply store, before driving north. But mostly, I want to use found materials, on-site in and around Skagaströnd. I don’t want to predetermine what process or form the work will take until I’m there, reacting to places and people.

I’m just going to show up.

But I am going to bring one thing. This one photograph. Here’s how I got the photograph.

A few months ago, artist Taeyoon Choi tweeted this prompt.

The stranger was me. I responded almost immediately with my address.

Unknown to me, Taeyoon had just received a few hundred photographs from David Horvitz (who I had recently met), and decided to use them in this mailart project.

A few days later I received a very small envelope from Taeyoon in the mail, containing a note, written on both sides, a couple of tiny twigs, and this one photograph by David, folded up. The note was quite moving—some observations about what was going on in the park, on one side, and some internal thoughts, on the other. Taeyoon didn’t know that I was planning a trip to Iceland, but the photo that he included happened to be one that David had taken in Iceland.

Taeyoon’s photo of David’s photo.

Which way?

Using the information on the road signs I located the scene on google maps. It’s on the route between Reykjavik and Skagaströnd, where I’m headed.


View Iceland 2013 in a larger map

So I’ll take the photo back to Iceland. I don’t know what I’ll do with it. I consider it a collaborative prompt. A chain reaction. David was in a specific place, and took a photo, marking himself in that place. He sent it to Taeyoon, who sent it to me, and now I’m taking it back to that place, completing some kind of loop (and setting other loops in motion).

A chance encounter between three artists, connected by a photograph, in three places, in two countries, via mail and twitter and mail and flying and driving. It contains a world of information. The way Taeyoon folded the photograph. The numbers, the roads, the distance, the colors, placenames on a map.

So I’ll take the photo back to Iceland and see what happens.