Wendy Trusler, Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning co-writer, visual artist, cook & food stylist extraordinaire has been busy these past days with another of her projects: a performance residency at the Thomas J. Bata Library and Peter Gzowski College at Trent University, Peterborough:
“Part art installation, part performance residency and part travelling archive, Voices at Hand is an ongoing project examining the essence of why we keep letters. Unpredictable and spontaneous, personal yet wonderfully public; artist Wendy Trusler’s blog posts chronicle her day to day finds from one city to the next.”
She read an unsent letter she wrote in Antarctica to iconic Canadian broadcaster Peter Gzowski when he was alive and CBC’s Morningside host. It never got to him but it has been heard. Wendy collects letters, does this clever and witty categorization of them, reads some gems live and for this Voices at Hand residency did a subversive act: she provided pens paper and stamps and encouraged students to write old-school.
So far Wendy’s collected over 3,600 letters spanning 187 years. She also read letters from the Trent University Archive.
Thank goodness she collects, keeps and publicly explores things like such letters and scraps of paper such as one with a Caipirinha recipe a Glaciologist’s scrawled on it that will be part of our upcoming Antarctic food and cultural history book.
Long live letters and archives.
Here is what Scott wrote to his wife in his final letter of March 1912 (Scott Polar Research Institute)
“Dear, it is not easy to write because of the cold – 70 degrees below zero and nothing but the shelter of our tent. You know I have loved you; you know my thoughts must have constantly dwelt on you… the worst aspect of this situation is that I shall not see you again – the inevitable must be faced.”