Pigeons Homing to the North is a site-specific multi-disciplinary art project that proposes to build connections through letter writing and responding with images.

I've asked people from all over the world to send me a postcard describing what they see or feel at the moment. These words will be the inspiration for an image.  People have extended the same concept to sending postcards to their friends, family, and total strangers. See them here.  "What do you see at this very moment?"

You can play and contribute too to this project!  Send me a picture of your postcard and hopefully the recipient will keep the correspondence.  If you write me, I'll always write you back :)  You can find me at arlenehtucker(at)yahoo.com for more details.

With love,
Arlene

Thank you to The Finnish American Reporter for publishing a call for Homing Pigeon writers in their May 2013 issue.  It started out as a project carried out in Finnish Lapland, but now has extended to all locations.  Read the interview below.

1) How do you describe this project to someone who's never heard of it?
Pigeons Homing to the North is a site-specific multi-disciplinary art project that proposes to build a platform for memories of Sámi people near and far to grow and to re-instill the nature of oral history through letter writing. This is realized by initiating correspondence between the artist, Arlene Tucker, and Sámi Americans who have ancestral roots in Karasjok, Northern Finland, and Norbotton, Sweden. 

2) What would someone need to do to be involved? How does someone "qualify" to be a part of this?
This project is for all ages.  It is for people who have Sámi roots and would like to explore their heritage.  It is also for people who are purely interested in the Northern part of the world.  To be involved one would need to be open to receiving letters from me and respond to them in whatever medium suits them best and however it suits them.  For example, if one is introducing their young child about Lapland the child could respond to my letters through drawings. 

The collaboration between myself and the correspondent is really dependent on what their interests are and also what they hope to get from the project.  This collaboration is a dialogue about discovering lands and developing a technique that allows for honest communication to occur.  Everybody has their path on discovering their roots and I'm open to working with them on that.

3) What inspired you to take on this project?
I have been living in Helsinki, Finland for just over two years now. I was lucky enough to have been able to visit Lapland County where we stopped in Inari to visit the Sámi Duodji center. A week’s stay in the most remote area I have ever been to in my life, in our family cottage off of Inarijarvi, taught me so much about Sámi and Finnish culture and their deep relationship with nature and space. When I heard about Sámi culture and language dwindling due to economic reasons of people moving away from their native region, I became excited about finding a way to preserve what could be lost.
Due to my inter-cultural and inter-racial upbringing of being both Taiwanese and American I have always been interested in other cultures, people, languages, and way of life. It is in this spirit of connecting people and places that I, a multi-disciplinary artist, multi-lingual curator, project author/creator raised in diverse languages, cultures, and continents could bring a unique mechanism for homing people back to their indigenous roots. With the implementation of my previously established methodology, based in semiotics, the study of signs and contextual signification, new bridges and understandings can be found.

My art practice is inspired by the interaction between an artist or artwork and the viewer. I am interested in creating art, dialogue and art installations that tell stories, trigger stories, memories and that engage the viewer; that invite the viewer on stage to be a part of the storytelling or art creation process. Pigeons Homing to the North is a project that interacts with people cross culturally and over many oceans trying to find peace within oneself and globally. At large, it is a project trying to encourage thought and action through immediate interaction. The proposed Pigeons Homing to the North takes that concept and extends it to active self-expression through letter writing for its main goal is to build a platform for within the communities across oceans, fjords, and mountains can create. This is a challenge I seek and a mission I believe in.

4) What do you hope/plan to accomplish through this project?
Pigeons Homing to the North is also an opportunity to preserve the Sámi culture and encourage the growing interest in Sámi Americans and for generations to come. This process, like the nature of documenting history, is both boundless and continuously evolving in time and space yet the documentation process that Pigeons Homing to the North brings into light a new kind of visual imagery and dialogue. From the correspondence letters, the project will raise issues of immigration, identity, language and the traveling of culture.

From the letters and our correspondence new light on one's heritage and landscape can be made.  I hope to show this through photographs, sound recording, and documentary letters.  I hope to exhibit these works to the public.

5) How long do you expect this to be in progress? What will the end result be?
On May 24 I will embark on the journey to Inari, Rovaniemi, Vaijoki and perhaps cross over to Norway. In total, I will be in Lapland for two weeks.  I hope to start correspondence with the project participants as soon as possible.  During this time I will write letters to the project participants about the environment, daily life, etc. 

For more information on how you can be a part of the Pigeons Homing to the North project please email Arlene at arlenehtucker@yahoo.com.  To participate in the Spring 2013 letter correspondence email her by May 15.
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