a step back.

new ideas:

  • posters on the windows. take phrases from the letter and display them for the community to see. could replace with my own phrases (actually related to our flat ie. “greeny has come back from NI”)
  • developed: could change the poster every hour and update our neighbours on our lives, just like nanny updated avi.
  • leave letters on park benches/in public spaces for people to find
  • make prints/resolved images based on phrases. text layered with photographs? could even be made into a book.
  • project phrases on to the flats opposite my window? very Jenny Holzer but also very impactful.


artists to look at:

  • Alexa Hare (collage, text)
  • Kevin Harman (doormat project, community-based art, almost performative?)
  • Matthew Sawyer (‘hidden’ public art, ‘documentary works’)
  • Sophie Calle (almost like a detective, engrossed in other people’s lives)
  • Jenny Holzer (text art, small and large scale)


things to remember:

  • don’t worry about where it goes. don’t worry if it gets far away from the letter. make work. learn to draw a line under the sand.
  • do something fun. do something lighthearted
  • the simplicity and perceived ‘mundaneness’ of the letter is what makes it work. play with that.

an ordinary letter

letter transcript (PDF)

a letter i found in my new flat, between a student and her grandmother. dated from over 13 years ago, this correspondence provides a small snapshot of someone’s family relationships. on one hand, the physical qualities of the object are interesting, such as the illegibility of the handwriting and the way the text on the back shows through the letter. but even more interesting than its formal qualities is the story of the characters within the letter, and the way your imagination is instantly sparked as you try to envision these people going about their daily lives.

some initial ideas of experimental work include dressing up as the characters and acting out the letter, possibly making it look like a kind of movie trailer where the characters and the premise of the story is introduced; writing back to the grandmother (i could even send the letter to every ‘garden cottage’ in the UK); rewriting the letter as a screenplay, continuing the story of the characters, and making a short film about it; and even staging the moment all these characters come together (as is foreshadowed in the letter). there is definitely a storytelling/performative aspect to this object and i think i could have a lot of fun playing dress up and seeing where the story and the characters take me.