Working towards this exhibition has been a very moving experience. The stories that the artists are sharing, and that the veterans are sharing with the artists, are very personal and special.
But this story is a little different. Make of it what you will, but I write only what really happened!
Artists have sent to me their biographies and a little information about their links to the Battle of Cassino, or the war in Italy and in general. Occasionally these arrive in a form that I can't open on my computer, so I request a cut and paste into an email.
One of the more recent biographies arrived, and I opened it to find a photo of the artist and a page of music notes. Puzzled, I emailed the artist.
Hi Pam... it's a very beautiful page of bio... all music? Do you have some words too? I opened the doc but there was only the one (very attractive) page...
She replied: Hi Kay
Sorry I am a little confused. I haven't sent any music. The page I sent was my personal bio as an artist and in the body of the email I wrote about my father in law Henry Tapp and what my work will represent. I am doing a painting, a mixed media piece and an installation piece. I havent yet finished them so have not included images of them.
Kay to Pam: How strange is this! Your bio arrived with colour, a photo, and a page of music (without the staves). When I copied it to send back to you in this email it turned into words. Somehow it had become encrypted! So I will paste it into an email to myself and all will be well.
How odd! But it really is a very pretty page!
Thanks for your speedy reply,
But that wasn't the end of the story! I then tried this:
Just for fun... let's see if you get what I got... I have saved it onto my computer and re-attached...
and Pam replied: omg no music on that page just my original bio i sent you LOL
To cut a many-emails story short, I photographed my computer screen to convince Pam that I was really seeing music in her emails. She then tried sending the attachment from three different email addresses, and two computers. Each time she sent words, I received music. I sent her music, and she received instead her own words back. Finally I printed what I had saved on my computer, scanned the print, and got the page of music to Pam.
The music has no staves, and seems to be short value notes. Is it a code?
I emailed a musician friend, asking only: What do you make of this? It's a long and interesting story... very keen to know if this means anything to a musician.
She replied: can't make sense of the attachment...perhaps it's some sort of code with different durations representing a syllable or a thought or simply the alphabet...?
The mystery remains.
As I typed this blog post the heater cord across my desk was bothering me. I unplugged the heater, and the computer, which is on a completely separate power point, turned itself off. When I turned it back on again the homepage, BBC news, had updates of more bloody clashes and deaths of young people in today's war zones.
Yes, we are looking back to the Battle of Cassino. But war continues all around us. Let's not be blind to it.
I choose to believe that the strange message in the music is a call to work harder, to unite in our efforts for peace. Artists can be seen and heard.
Footnote: Just to add to the mystery, in our rapid exchange of 80 quick emails over two days, Pam and I discovered that our own histories are linked. Our fathers-in-law were in the tanks together at Cassino, and were friends. Equally surprisingly, for a short time before I moved to Italy, we lived in the same country road, attended the same meetings for a new gallery in the town, and didn't connect until linked by a cryptic piece of music.