• Ml7
  • Ml1
  • Ml2
  • Ml3
  • Ml4
  • Ml5
  • Ml6
Art

Mysterious Letters, Part 2

Posted by Will Hudson,

Mysterious Letters is back! And this time you can help, created by Lenka Clayton and Michael Crowe the project sets out to write a personalised hand written letter to everyone on the planet, including you.

The project is up on Kickstarter where you can support part two, the funding will be spent on little stamps, large envelopes, etc. and you will also get anything from a your name added to a list or choosing the next town they write to. We found out what else they had planned…

So, where to start? Back in April you sent 467 households in the small Irish Village of Cushendall a personal handwritten letter. For anyone that’s not seen it can you explain…

We came up with the idea to write a letter to everyone in the world in the British Library in London. Over tea in the cafeteria, I saw that Michael had written in his sketchbook; “Write a letter to everyone in the World”. I remembered having exactly the same idea, and writing it in my own sketchbook. We decided to honour the coincidence by doing it as a collaborative project. We started with the village of Cushendall in Northern Ireland. We were interested to see how it would be to write to hundreds of strangers and what we might say.

We didn’t put a return address on the letters. We were interested in just imagining what might have happened when each home received a personal hand-written letter on the same day as every other household in a remote village. It was like a giant puzzle the whole town had to group together to figure out. We imagined the postman with his unusually heavy bag, being forced up each path to each front door for the first time. We imagined the discussion that would take place at the breakfast table between the parents and children. We imagined chatty neighbours over the fence, the realisation that they too had a letter, a different one, from the same unknown senders. We imagined the realisation, and the questions (who? what? why?) that would spread across the village, causing comparisons between the letters and reactions unique to the recipients. The project arrived on each person’s doorstep and gave everybody a reason or excuse to talk to their neighbours or strangers for a few days. It poses the question whether that happened, and doesn’t attempt to answer it. We decided that the art of this piece was the conversations the letters provoked.

Any favourite letters you can remember?

One that sticks out mentions a giraffe giving birth. It was casually mentioned on BBC Ireland and it sounded like a Chris Morris type spoof. Another was for the local primary school and we asked for it to be read out at assembly, which sort of turned all the children into little detectives with this huge mysterious letters case to crack. We tried to keep it all very mystifying, but in the letters we sent to the old people’s home, we let them in on what was happening because we didn’t upset or confuse them. All the letters are on mysteriousletters.blogspot.com
which is a bit of luck because we almost didn’t scan any of them.

You’re in the process of planning part 2, what can we expect?

Hopefully, if people lend a lovely hand then part two will be a more streamlined voluptuous mystery. We can promise more smoke and more mirrors. Alex can expect it to be bigger, brighter, faster and baked to a finer crisp. Will, you can expect it to be slower, closer, wetter, newer and more honeyed. Michael has been working on his spidery, floppy handwriting so hopefully some of his sentences will be legible this time. We’ll be writing to a mysterious location currently covered with a huge black dry-cleaned tablecloth. Everything else about part two is a secret I’m afraid. We hope all of the letters will be posted on the blog by the end of November.

The project is also on Kickstarter, what we can expect if we support the project.

We funded the part 1 ourselves (except getting to live for free in an artist’s residency tower) but have now run clean out of funds. So we posted the next chapter project on Kickstarter to raise money for the 1000 stamps, envelopes etc. for the next town. There are some glorious rewards for people who support the project including the chance to receive mail; from drunken postcards to a hand delivered letter anywhere in the world, and even the chance to decide which entire town will be the next to receive letters. (Many of the rewards will soon wind up at auction houses to be fought over in frenzied, ecstatic bidding wars by the world’s rich elite.) We’re some way off our target at the moment so any help would be delightful.

If you could write a letter to anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you say?

I think it would be great to send a letter to someone who was completely and utterly lost. (Bear with me) Perhaps they’ve somehow bumbled their way (notice: a slight limp) into an empty damp house which they know they’ve no place being in. It’s 3am. The whole place stinks of evil and downright terror. The place is littered with Friends DVD boxsets. Our little misplaced friend is extremely anxious about getting caught. Look at those trembling hands! After a seemingly endless night of troubled dreams and howling, circling wolves, this uninvited little guest flinches from a noise at the front door… Gently, with a pounding heart and teary eyes they tip-toe up to the door. A letter… A letter! My name! My name! Is this… a miracle!? Is this a mirac… But I think to answer the question: Tina Turner. We’d ask for news on tour dates.

Lenka and Michael were also kind enough to talk as part of the It’s Nice That Talks Series, watch it here.

Wh-300

Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Art-belikov-int-list

    I can’t tell you a whole lot about Lithuanian artist Art Belikov other than he’s 24 years old and, er, Lithuanian. And that all his images are fantastical digital creations. But in spite of the lack of background information currently available to me I’d just like to say that his work is extraordinary. He’s a maker of 3D rendered images depicting scenes borrowed from late 90s sci-fi; all “vintage” cell phones and games consoles, cans of mysterious energy drinks and designer bottled water. There’s a 666 in his URL too so you can be sure he’s a cool guy! When we finally track the man down we’ll ask him some questions about what it all means, but for now just drink in the eerie beauty of his digital creations.

  2. Jessica-brilli-int-17

    If when you close your eyes at night you dream of tying a silk kerchief over your carefully curled ’do and hopping in a classic Chevy to sail down the West Coast, you might find yourself as enamoured as I do with the work of painter Jessica Brilli. She favours endless-seeming roads and vintage cars for her expressive oil paintings, and she’s got recreating them on canvas down to a fine art. Her landscapes are dream-like in their expansiveness and colour palette, while her portraits seems to hark back to an era when a Chevy was still commonplace and kerchiefs were still pretty cool. And a little picturesque fantasy never hurt anybody, eh?

  3. London-is-changing-intlist

    Public art project London is Changing makes Londoners uncomfortably aware of the truths we’re perhaps trying to ignore: that our city is morphing beyond recognition, that creativity is at risk, and that for many people, it’s simply becoming unaffordable.

  4. Bensanders-potdealer-3-int_copy

    While keeping himself busy with postmodern Howard Hodgkin-esque painting and collage work, Ben Sanders is somehow finding the time to paint funny faces on ceramics. Cutting through the “worthy lifestyle” pottery trend with googly eyes, zigzag nostrils and creepy grins, Ben has stamped his sense of humour and aesthetic all over these thriving succulents’ homes.

  5. Olafur-eliasson_little-sun-int-1

    A “giddy joy” was described as the feeling evoked by the artwork of Olafur Eliasson when we interviewed him for last year’s Autumn edition of Printed Pages, and with his monumental, often participatory pieces, it’s not hard to see why. From his incredible 2003 Weather Project at Tate Modern to its portable, socially-conscious, tiny counterpart Little Sun(which “produces clean, affordable, and portable solar-powered lamps to areas of the world without reliable access to electricity”), his work is a glorious, utterly original ray of light shining on the sometimes impenetrable art world.

  6. Christian-marclay-vinyl-factory-int-1

    In another brilliant feat of creative engineering that bridges the gap between music, art and design, a project at the White Cube gallery in London’s Bermondsey sees musicians including Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore perform a composition for Christian Marclay, which is recorded and pressed on site by The Vinyl Factory Press. The press is housed in a shipping container, and the artwork for the record – also created on site – is designed by Christian and printed by Coriander Press, in a series that feels like cottage industry, DIY ideas brought into a slick, art-world setting.

  7. Lynda-benglis-int11

    “Think of bayous…crawfish…sea creatures…metal…tieing shoelaces…not knowing what to do sometimes and just doing it.” This is Lynda Benglis’ bizarre monologue, with which she ends the introduction to her new show.

  8. Brechtvandenbroucke-the-fame-main-int

    Brecht, after five years of admiring your work I can happily say that I can spell your name without looking. And I can tell you that even though I’ve spent years admiring the skill of your painting, I can finally say that I think I actually get it. Over time, Brecht’s erratic artworks have become increasingly crowded with characters, pop culture references, logos, and his trademark long-limbed creatures.

  9. Antoinecorbineau-6-int

    It’s my personal opinion that some of the most exciting creative work starts life as a side project to distract from commercial jobs. Such is definitely the case for Antoine Corbineau, a French illustrator and designer who has worked on a plethora of projects for commercial clients, drawing up large-scale, intricate scenes of characters interacting in an enormous, often map-like style. Potentially even more alluring, however, is Antoine’s painting work. It’s distinctly less bright, almost realist in its approach, depicting familiar domestic scenes and landscapes interspersed with small but resonant human activity. His attention to minute detail – the foliage of a plant, a picture frame, the icons on a computer screen – and his accuracy in creating scenes that you could swear you’d seen before makes this body of work oddly enchanting.

  10. Sethbogart-ceramics-home

    Seth Bogart is quite the Renaissance man. The frontman of San Francisco-based band Hunx & His Punx is also an artist, producing paintings, drawings and ceramics; a video director; a photographer and a fashion designer. He has collaborated with Yves Saint Laurent and has his own store, Wacky Wacko, for which he also designs installations. Seriously, this guy.

  11. Ellakru-painting-7home-int

    Latvia-born Ella Kruglyanskaya now lives and works in New York, depicting cartoon-like friends and “frienemies” out-and-about in large-scale oil paintings and murals. Ella’s work is packed with bawdy humour, exaggerated forms, exuberant mark-making and interactions. She describes her intention as “pictorial events… [that] aspire to an unspoken punch line” – the content, references and line-work all filtered through comedy.

  12. Anniedescarteaux-collage-7home-int

    Annie Descôteaux’s work is confident, engaging and straight-forwardly slapstick. The Montreal-based artist works with installation, drawing and collage and has seen her work exhibited and discussed at conferences on colour theory. In equally impressive outings, it’s also appeared in Bloomberg and Pica magazines, among other publications. Annie’s collage work is well-balanced with clean lines, sharp colours and discreet humour; each piece littered with raw steak, fried eggs and shuttlecocks.

  13. Oliviervrancken-untitled-1-inthome

    Olivier Vrancken is a graphic designer and artist based in Holland. Painting and drawing his way through commissions and personal work, he is inspired by everything from primitive art to the great lyricists that are Black Sabbath. Olivier has exhibited all over Europe, his Cubist aesthetic and visual references laden with nods to cut-outs, still life, architecture and the human form. There’s a great colour palette to his work and some nice titles like Bad Hair Day and Wanderlust. Olivier’s work reminds me of the prints that appeared all over the T-shirts of the 1980s, in a good way.