Welcome to a new blog that accompanies the project North to North: A Journey in Postcards from Manchester to the Maghreb by John Perivolaris, which has been commissioned as part of the AHRC-funded exhibition, New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK to be held at Cornerhouse in Manchester, UK, during 15 April – 12 June 2011.

This exhibition is one of the major outputs of a three-year AHRC research project, France – Algeria: Visualising a (Post-) Colonial Relationship, which began in September 2008, and is being undertaken by Dr Joseph McGonagle (Department of French, The University of Manchester) and Dr Edward Welch (Department of French, University of Durham). The two-month exhibition will examine how relations between the three countries have been represented in a range of contemporary visual media, and confirmed artists include Kader Attia, Bruno Boudjelal, Yves Jeanmougin and Zineb Sedira. The commission project North to North will lead to the creation of an original installation by Perivolaris, which will be premiered at the Cornerhouse exhibition.

What is North to North?

North to North is a month-long journey from Manchester, UK via France to Algeria that Perivolaris will undertake 5 June – 5 July 2010.

Despite Algerian independence in 1962, after more than 130 years of French colonial rule, the relationship between France and Algeria continues to play a defining role in each country politically, socially and culturally through migration, post-colonial antagonism, and memories of a shared colonial past. At the same time, the current decade has seen an intriguing shift in Algeria’s geopolitical significance, as it became a favoured diplomatic partner in the American-led ‘War on Terror’, and an increasingly privileged trade partner of the United Kingdom, thanks undoubtedly to its large reserves of Saharan oil and gas.

Structured around a series of encounters with people connected personally to both France and Algeria, and via visits to key sites of memory that underpin the display of the Franco-Algerian relationship in the public sphere today, North to North will comprise walks and interviews with participants, subsequently uploaded along with images made by Perivolaris to this blog. This commissioned project will also endeavour to triangulate the Franco-Algerian relationship by exploring the signs and traces of the less obvious, but no less complex, ties between the UK and a country that France has historically assumed to be its own ‘back yard’. In doing so, it will raise questions about the contemporary relationship between notions of the “North” and “South” in an increasingly globalised world.

Indeed, technologies of globalisation will form an integral part of Perivolaris’s journey. Central to it will be the iPhone, which will enable him to communicate virtually with correspondents via the blog, permitting online followers to track, annotate and suggest alternative paths for his journey, and to record and photograph the people and places he encounters. The iPhone application Shoot it! will play a particularly pivotal role: allowing Perivolaris and those he meets to make and send physical postcards back to Manchester as he travels. The journey will also duly interrogate the contemporary and historical significance of postcards made and sent between the three countries.

The material produced during the journey will ultimately form the basis of Perivolaris’s installation at the New Cartographies 2011 Cornerhouse exhibition, which will feature the display of photographs on iPod Touch handsets with accompanying audioguide; the inclusion of postcards found, purchased, modified, and made along the way; and incorporation of correspondence sent to Manchester, both physically and online, from participants. It will thus chart John’s physical journey through audio and images but also provide his personal insight into the weaving of links between the UK, France and Algeria today. Probing the relationship between the photographer and his physical and virtual interlocutors, it will also encourage interaction between those tracking his journey online and exhibition visitors.

John welcomes comments, advice and suggestions as he plans his journey and also as he travels. Please use the comments function to get in touch with him. You may also send postcards, maps, and letters in response to his journey to the following address:

Dr Joseph McGonagle
French Studies
School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures
Samuel Alexander Building
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

John will attempt to respond  directly to any correspondence. He will do so in the very itinerary of his journey, through this blog, or by sending postcards. He may also include part of this correspondence in his exhibition installation. Permission will be sought from correspondents before doing so.


12 comments so far

  1. Houwari on

    Wow, this is seriously cool. You’ve got mail soon (more details in email).

  2. Jane Baxter on

    A very interesting project. I visited Algeria in 2007 for a holiday, mainly visiting the South and the desert. I noticed the connection with France is very strong in the North but much less so in the South where the culture is dominated by the desert tribes. English is spoken by very few people and I didn’t meet any other English people at all during both my trips to Algeria. I look forward to following your progress and wish you a very enjoyable trip. (If you need an English speaking guide I can recommend one).

    • johnperivolaris on

      Dear Jane,
      Thank you so much. I look forward to receiving your advice as I travel to Algeria for the first time. I should also like to take you up on the kind offer of an English-soaking guide. Finally, it would be great if you sent a postcard to the address provided on the blog. I shall, of course, respond with another.
      All best,

  3. Jane Baxter on

    The guide’s name is Redha and he is based in Batna in the North, but can guide anywhere in Algeria. This is his email address – redha_redha05000@yahoo.fr. I have also asked him to send you a postcard.

    • johnperivolaris on

      Dear Jane,
      That’s wonderful. Thank you very much. I await to respond to your and Reda’s postcards.
      All best,

    • johnperivolaris on

      Dear Jane,
      That’s wonderful. Thank you very much. I await to respond to your and Redha’s postcards.
      All best,

  4. Redha on

    Hi John
    I have just seen Jane’s E-mail, and replied.
    You’re welcome,
    You’ll receive the postcard as soon as possible, (regard less the mailing system) we still don’t know a presised time for the post mails we send to Europe.
    Wish you success.

    • johnperivolaris on

      Dear Redha,

      I look forward to your postcard and possibly to meeting you during my visit to your country. It would be wonderful to discuss the possibility of some excursions. In any case, I shall be in Algiers between 21-30 June, in Annaba between 40 June and 4 July, and back in Algiers between 4 and 6 July, when I return to the UK. I shall e-mail you when I am there.

      All best,


  5. Sarah P on

    Hi John
    Looking forward to sending you off tomorrow night at Cornerhouse (5pm – all welcome!) and looking forward to the updates!
    Good luck, Sarah

    • johnperivolaris on

      Thanks, Sarah, for all the support. I’ll do my best regarding the updates.

  6. […] for scanning and uploading. Full details of how to take part in John’s journey can be found here. The journey will end in Algiers on 5 […]

  7. Perivolaris Moves North on

    […] I sent another two postcards today, one to Dr Ed Welch’s office in Durham, another to Dr Perivolaris via his colleague Manchester. If any of this moves you as much as it moves me, you can do the same. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: