Florence is already full of pleasant surprises, but in the coming weeks, Finnish artist Päivi Hintsanen will be leaving ninety new ones around town. Since 2010, Hintsanen has been working on her goodwill-spreading Random Prints Project, a message-in-a-bottle-esque mission confined to the mainland.
Leaning on her long experience in digital and web arts, Päivi produces dozens of small pigment ink prints on smooth, high-quality Hahnemühle paper. She then places them inside envelopes with handwritten letters in English, French and German, discreetly scattering the messages around town. Her hope is that those locals or travelers who stumble on these envelopes will tell her where the prints eventually end up.
Päivi has previously completed four installments of this project, and three of these Random Prints ‘rounds’ have taken place around Tuscany. She explains that she began with no particular agenda or expectation. ‘It was just a random idea that came into my head…and it one of those things that you just have to do.’ Now, after uplifting and connecting with countless people residing all over the world, Päivi said that the project gives her hope. ‘It feels so comforting to know that there are people who dare to open perfectly anonymous envelopes in this world full of threats.’
The recipients have been as varied as the prints themselves, according to Päivi. Some have been Florence locals, charmed by an unusual discovery on their routine walks to work. Vacationers have described the prints as cherished mementos of their Italy travels. People who’ve stumbled on her prints after only a few short days in Florence have expressed gratitude to Hintsanen for her friendly gesture in foreign territory.
Many of Päivi's ‘finders and keepers’ have become her pen pals and friends, though she doesn’t attach these expectations to her letters. She’s simply grateful for the connection that the project inspires and the potential it has to brighten a day or even a dark period. So as you amble through Florence in the coming days, keep your eyes peeled for Päivi’s prints and positive vibes––she’ll be dispersing them downtown through the first week of September.
Follow the Random Prints Project and the lucky 'finders' at www.randomprints.blogspot.it