I write a lot of letters.
To me, the letters and polaroids that go with them are special because they are each a one-of-a-kind artifact, something that cannot truly be reproduced. I scan the letters and polaroids, but they are flat, they are not the things themselves. The letters are intended as works for a specific person, commissioned works of art, communication, connection. Only the recipient can fully appreciate them in that context.
I've thought long and hard about how I could possibly share the letters more widely. How I could share them without trying to reproduce that secret space that the letter has with the recipient. It's been a difficult puzzle. I'm protective of the letters.
However, I have cautiously stumbled upon a way to make the letters and polaroids into something else entirely; a new context, one that doesn't pretend to reproduce the original work.
The words of the letter remain, but they are not in my handwriting and they are not on stationery or in the form of a letter. The image remains, but is not a polaroid; instead, it is the polaroid re-worked into something else by a wonderful artist I met through this project. Nadine Kappacher requested a letter from me some years ago. She later sent back a drawing she did from the polaroid I had included with her letter.
So, they will be co-works, re-works, new works. This coming month, the first example of these imagined works will be published in TheNewerYork Book III. You can see an image of the piece below as well as the text of the letter in case it's hard to see in the image. I've been a huge fan of TheNewerYork through their first two books and I'm hugely thrilled to be a part of the third.
Check it out and more to come...
I’m going to do a little experiment on you. I hope you don’t mind. If you reject being used in my experiment you should stop reading right now! If you are still reading, you are a brave man! I like you, Emiel!
So, I’m going to try to hypnotize you. I’ve never done this before, but what harm is there in a little mesmerism? Maybe I’ll become a mail order mesmerist. It’s a little dream of mine. Are you ready, Emiel? Take out the polaroid I’ve enclosed. Now, take a deep breath and stare into the stripes. Stare into the stripes, Emiel. Yes, just like that. You’re really good at this!
What thoughts are going through your mind? Perhaps you are thinking about the Higgs Boson? Or about your penis (those thoughts come up a lot!)? Or maybe about the weather (why are you thinking such boring thoughts as that, Emiel?)? I imagine that big, juicy steaks are floating through your mind (tasty meats are nice thoughts to have).
Now, I’m going to plant a thought into your mind. Keep staring at the stripes. Move your eyes just a bit lower, Emiel. Don’t worry, it’s OK. This is the word I want you to focus on while your eyes are mesmerized by the stripes (just a little lower now): mango. Let me repeat: mango. Can you feel the sweet, messy thoughts dripping on your brain? Mango. Please continue staring and concentrating on the word “mango” for 5 minutes. Let me know the results.