Don’t throw out your scrabble set! (Locative literature Part 2)

IMG_6134This is a special post dedicated to the author of ‘Hoarder Comes Clean‘ blog.

Sandy (self-professed hoarder) is currently in the process of clearing out her cupboards and basement and will now blame me if she can’t bear to get rid of any scrabble board games that she finds – even if they are a few letters short of a full set.

And it’s all due to a recent post (here) about Matt Blackwood’s temporary art installation at Flinders St tram stop in Melbourne – in which I mentioned one of the artist’s earlier projects involving scrabble tiles.


I am very happy to report that you can still view at least one of Matt’s Scrabblelit works even though they were only intended to have a short term existence.

This one has been in place for over six months in an alley just off Flinders Lane (on a side wall of the Adelphi Hotel):

How long you been on the streets

Bout five years

Does it get any easier

What do you call easy

IMG_6124Before you make any highbrow comments about the artist’s grammar, bear in mind the context and the fact that scrabble doesn’t have any punctuation tiles.

Or take a long breath and consider whether Matt may have been channelling fellow authors who shun parochial conventions such as grammar.

(A post by May Huang at ‘quiklit’ proves that it was not just James Joyce who did this – here.)

And in terms of spelling, you may have noticed in the photo that Matt’s work was missing the following letters by the time I found it last week: A, T, O, E, A.

For this, we can probably blame the weather (climate change?), cleaners, vandals, bad adhesive or simply the passing of time.

(Note: I checked Matt’s website and the ‘official’ text doesn’t have an ‘A’ in ‘Bout’.)

A kind soul has written in the missing letters with black texta, but these are already beginning to fade and are hard to read.

So, do you know someone in Melbourne who has an incomplete scrabble set and would be willing to spare a few tiles in the name of art? (Different colour tiles would probably be best so that it is clear that these tiles are not original.)

I can’t bear to break up my set – especially as I will need it for my next ‘Words’ post. (My first ‘Words’ post is here.)

I’m sure Matt would be delighted to know that someone cared enough to fill in the gaps. And I would be extra happy to know that someone actually read my request and had acted on it!


Categories: Art

Tags: , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Good idea, to crowd-source the missing tiles. Same should apply to chess sets, I suppose!

  2. Can we coin a new term here? I think the world is ready for artcycling. Because ‘upcycling’ comes with baggage. I’ve never really liked art-from-junk being described as ‘upcycled’, but what are we here on this Earth for if not to create, and intrigue the senses? Mere survival can be challenging enough, but insects do that.

    Incidentally, you might widen your appeal to include other sources of individual letters. Other games include Banagrams, Keyword, Upwords… or how about an old computer keyboard (or better yet, typewriter). You know, I may have to mix up some epoxy resin and join the fun…

  3. Yesterday I saw a show at “MAD” — Museum of Art and Design in NYC — that had a lot of pieces made from recycled material or assembled from what would otherwise be junked. I thought I might use some for a blog post and now you’ve really got me thinking. As for the term, I like “repurposing”.
    Great post on scrabble tiles (I did keep the incomplete set I found — who knows? I might still make some art)


  1. Repurposing, Upcycling, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist | Hoarder Comes Clean

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: