Notes on the Letter Project
The Letter Project is a kaleidoscopic project composed of several moveable parts including a series of hand-written letters sent in the mail. In the same envelope as the letter is a drawing embedded with a link to an experimental soundscape type song. Each subscriber receives a series of remixes of a particular combination of song, letter, and drawing. In addition, the project is represented by a website on the internet.
In a nut shell, the project is aimed at a kind of community involvement in intimate experience. It came about from wanting to share some kind of space of poetry, art and music and give it a place in the daily lives of people I know. Along with this, is simply the desire to allow something which is deeply considered to become accessible as something that can be placed on the fridge or thrown out and left in memory.
The space and time of writing and reading letters can contain questions parallel to looking at a drawing or listening to a song. Questions like, What can I share with myself and someone else at the same time? What has happened since the last sentence I wrote? Is this even legible? Who is witnessing these actions and intentions? Are they meant for me? What does this moment have to do with other moments in my day? How do I compose this flow of thoughts and feelings? I wonder if they got my letter?
The letters provide a space to mine a landscape of iterations or remixes. There is a quality to the permutations I find my community living in - The constant shifts associated with uploading and downloading the same file at a different set of parameters - a translation process to make a thing legible across platforms. It reminds me of watching for whales or seals on the horizon - a thing coming up as a text one time, as email the next, as a written letter, as a phone call. All of these forms are available to us. And as always, just as important and often forgotten as a defining characteristic, the space between these forms is also available to us. In this way, the works can easily be printed and are made to wander around unattached to some original, able to surface on a smart phone or in the mail box as a scrap or as a sketch, in the kitchen or in the bathroom - a kind of ATV vehicle.
Tagged to this this succession of letters are remixes of songs and drawings. Remixes have a history in improvisation and economics. At one end of the spectrum they focus in on a thing and dance with it and at the other end they water it down and inflate its worth. But they can also perpetuate or keep the ball of the original in play a little longer. They can be irreverent or respectful. They allow the thing to resurface in multiple forms. I think it is a really fun form and I like that it involves a community in a process and allows an experience to be a little more dispersed and less focused on a particular object or point of sale. While these works reside in a combination of digital and printed media, they can perhaps deal with preservation, digital rot, and the desire for permanence and in this way play on some space between oral and written tradition.
And of course, the Letter Project is also kind of just an elaborate Hail Mary of a Trojan Horse sent to the mail boxes of brick and mortars carrying some anachronistic and archaic ink drawing and song poem in a stretched out grasslands of isolation.