Katherine and Alanna went to art school together at Monash University in Melbourne, where their paths crossed but didn’t intersect. In 2010, some years after graduation Katherine contacted Alanna over facebook with the following message:
you probably think it’s weird hearing from me, given that I have probably talked to you <65 times in your life, and that was quite a few years ago. but weirdness aside, I’m sending you a message because I want to talk to you about whales. I gather that you were doing a project about whales last year, and I thought that perhaps you’d have something interesting to say about them. I thought that perhaps you could enhance my artmaking experience with your knowledge of whales and their artistic applications.
it occurs to me that you are sick of whales, having spent so much time focusing on them. if this is the case, please do not feel obliged to say anything at all about whales. if this is the case, simply send me a return message saying something about a thing that isn’t a whale, and I will get the message that you don’t want to talk about the whales. if this is not the case, and you are still happy to talk about whales, I would appreciate it if we could have some kind of conversation about whales and art with whales in it and your art as it applies to whales.
I’m not really sure where to start any whale-conversation, mainly because I don’t know where to start any other conversation either. so I’m asking you to say something cool/interesting/thought-provoking/artistic about whales. then perhaps I will respond in some form, then perhaps you will respond, and so on. this could potentially go on for about a week, and then you may never hear from me again.”
This began a fruitful dialogue between the two, resulting in this review of Katherine’s work by Alanna in Un magazine in 2012 and this catalogue essay by Katherine for Alanna’s 2013 exhibition ‘The Significance of Popcorn‘. This blog continues an informal formalisation of their penpal relationship.