enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) was my answer to a time when connection needed its vital signs checked.
I recently unboxed the replies – a treasure of old letters. I followed paper and fabric threads back in time. Unfolding, we were enveloped again.
I had intended to share some return correspondences soon after the project. However, there is something nostalgic, perhaps re-connective, about touching back years on…
I set out on this postal project not knowing.
I did not know what the results might be. I did not know how my offerings might be recieved. I did not know the boundaries of the form I was about to play with, or what might constitute 0.5 of a letter.
As I explored thought and form, gave myself permission to push my own perceptions, questions circled:
- What defines a letter?
- Do pictures paint language, and is painted language enough?
- Are linear sentences needed to better communicate/connect?
- Do I need to explain or do I trust the abstract, trust subjective meaning to resonate?
I sat and with hands, made. With blind impulse, made. With given prompts, alongside words, objects and observations fossicked from my everyday moments, made … and shared.
There was no expectation for participants to respond, but when they did it was indeed a joy. The reflections in material, process and contemplation were wondrous to unwrap. I learnt to trust, not to question myself into a corner, just to collect and create with intent and thoughtfulness and post. Some questions returned to me, see connective thread 5 – we were asking the same, connecting over the quizzical.
Sincere thanks to all those who participated in the project, in particular, those responsible for these replies and for the permission to share them.
connective thread 1:
enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 4:
prompt: artist vs. public servant, not that they are mutually exclusive
reply from Tony, Michelle and Isla:
connective thread 2:
enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 6:
reply from Care:
connective thread 3:
enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 7:
prompt: point six leap
reply from Ian:
in reply: enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 27:
reply from Ian (audio):
connective thread 4:
enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 8:
reply from Steve:
connective thread 5:
enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 9:
reply from Martin:
With some trepidation, due to unfamiliarity, I take pen to paper to thank you for involving me in your enveloping connection project.
When your envelope arrived, I was struck by a number of questions. For example, is an envelope containing no handwriting actually a “letter”? And, to be a letter, especially one making a human connection, there surely must be a message … so what (I wondered) is it? there are some carefully chosen words exposed on the front, and somewhat poetic colours inside. What could be the message they contain? Is it an abstract response to a trigger – a reflection of what was invoked, or something more? I’m not sure – the former actually only just occurred to me. Earlier I thought maybe it is like “if you’re going to give me nothing by way of connection than a single word, then here’s an equally unfathomable response”! 🙂 (Interesting – what did people do before smilies?!)
Well, I’m all for human connections, so I thought it might be time to share what “Antarctica” means, or rather where it came from. Antarctica is something fabulous, very important and beautiful, which I appreciate from a distance. I probably don’t know much beyond the first thing about it, but I still appreciate it being there – even if I never go there to see it.
That’s like you.
I think that what you do and how you do it is wonderful, and something of great importance to the world, even though I appreciate from afar.
When I first saw you perform your work I was totally struck. Like oh my god, this is what it can be about (poetry) this lady brings it to life!
I’m glad to keep getting the occasional glimpses through facebook, and your postal projects.
Though tenuous at best, the connection feels human.
And that’s good.
in reply: enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 36:
‘Are these ink letters able to ink links between distant points? … Dear Martin, Thank you for involving me in your thought process on envelopes. The questions within your reply were mirrors to those explored in the process. What makes a letter a letter? Do we seek words for connection? When I tried to write a letter in my own script, the idea was so overwhelming that I shifted word into object in order to communicate another way.
Do pictures really paint language and is painted language enough? Are we seeking, with letters, a clarity perhaps that requires ink letters? I gathered together the materiality of my recent moments and threaded them with your prompts to stick our connection like paged collage.’
connective thread 6:
enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 11:
reply from Caroline:
connective thread 7:
enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 19:
reply from Amy:
connective thread 8:
enveloping (the human) connection (in 36.5 letters) letter no. 24:
reply from Michael:
connective threads 9-10…
I’m going to keep a couple for myself.
Except to say that there’s something special in the air when the moments we share: the stilt-characters and sunflower seeds we gather, the typewriters and the markets we frequent, remind us of who we have met and who we have been.
You can see more letters sent during the same project here.