Air Mail – A Love Letter and Beacon, Justin Rabideau (Atlanta, GA). 
April 2017. Installation view. Wood, glass, love letters, thread, felt.

Rabideau activated the highest point in Elsewhere to create AirMail – A Love Letter and a Beacon. The work brings together imaginative imagery, historic narrative, and the handwritten note to invoke the poetic nature of the attic as a site of refuge, contemplation, and broadcast.

Working with ideas of wartime generated by Seth Ferris’s Surplus, Surplus, Rabideau created a loose reference to notions of carrier pigeons also known as “war pigeons.” These pigeons were often used to carry messages to troops over enemy lines, carrying with them hope, tactical information, and notions of home. This idea of reaching out, communicating with something deeper, and always seeking to return home are the binding concepts of the installation. However, instead of tactical information being sent on the wings of these birds, Rabidou sought to explore the inherent desire that we as humans feel when separated from the ones we love by imagining these carrier pigeons flying missions to deliver love letters and warm thoughts of home.

The attic, transformed into aviary, becomes a beacon and a source of deliverance for those seeking to send messages to those far away. The installation, constructed of various standard and sculptural birdhouses made from the Elsewhere Wood Library, gives home to blown glass objects containing love letters sourced from Rabideau, fellow artists, interns, and staff of Elsewhere. These glass objects are placed on the landing rods of each birdhouse, awaiting the return of carrier pigeons to deliver the messages. Additionally, there is a writing station, equipped with paper, pencil, and string for binding hand-rolled notes – inviting visitors to write their own letters. At the window two lamps are timed to turn on at dusk and off at dawn. A lighted attic window, calling out into the night, is a beacon for the bearers of the messages we so deeply want to send.