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Ephemeral words can mean so much

Parkes Shire Council Library Reader in Residence initiative – words out on the street – on cups!

Of course I love this!

If you live in Parkes and you drink coffee, you’re going to relate to the poem printed on your takeaway cup. Probably everyone’s driven up Bogan Road at least once today.

There’s something special about locative literature; work created in or about the same place you’re consuming it. You can have words out on the street (my personal favourite – stamped in concrete), but when the words are on ephemeral objects, like cups or napkins, ephemeral becomes sought-after, because you can’t just wander down any old time to read. You have to experience the words within a timeframe (unless of course you collected them, which I would if I lived in Parkes).

Update 27 July – how meta is this? A digital image of an ephemeral coffee cup story? Lucky Parkes coffee drinkers, lucky us – more stories here and info here.

Tiny Owl Workshop produced napkin stories in 2013. How wonderful to sit down in a cafe to eat and to find a story at your table.

Pumpkin Pie napkin story

Pumpkin Pie by Katja John on Tiny Owl Workshop’s Napkin Stories

What if it is the text’s medium that’s
ephemeral, not the surface?
Possibly the first ephemeral words that I
connected with that got me interested in public art and words, and it (yes, just one word) does mean so much.
Arthur Stace’s chalked Eternity across Sydney –
check out the National Museum’s exhibition.







And the combination of beach and haiku was irresistible to me. This is beach mosaic by Barbara Bufi, created during a ginko with Graham Nunn at Mission Beach.

And one last image of ephemeral words (on an ephemeral surface) – these meant a lot to
people living with alzheimers.
Artist Michele Brody worked with people who wrote on over-sized tea bags. Brody and the
patients experimented with passing around tins of tea and letting the group describe the
scent. They created a poem on their favorite beverages and on sharing meals and drinks
with family and friends. More images here

In the past I have created jeans and a lampshade with poetry written on the surfaces.
And I have written a few haiku in sand (as well as drawing funny pictures of my Dad).
What shall I write on next?










4 comments on “Ephemeral words can mean so much

  1. Pingback: Local news: August | arts-outwest

  2. Pingback: Library Journal: Australian Coffee Cup Stories | The Signal in Transition

  3. Pingback: More adventures in Parkes, New South Wales | Books and Adventures

  4. Pingback: Ephemeral words can mean so much: Alison Miles on coffee cup literature | Books and Adventures

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This entry was posted on July 17, 2014 by in art, australian, maker culture, reader services and tagged , , .
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