Friday, May 10, 2013

Mail & Art

I enjoy mail art.  I have engaged in mail art on and off for some time, among different groups and in numerous formats, from sending postcards to open calls for shows to buying and trading art cards to sending random mail to other like-minded individuals and more.  I enjoy the uncertainty and non-commodification that results from just dispensing of art through the mail with no expectation of monetary reimbursement or returned correspondence

Nowadays, a lot of people are networking online.  I need to become more involved and savvy to this, but I know I will continue to communicate through the mail regardless of my online presence.  I know I won't go fully digital.  There's something special about the physicality of the mail.  Opening a letter or a package is an engaging process.  Having and holding something in your hands lends presence and intensifies the immediacy of that precise moment.  And the time delay means there is no expectation of instant gratification, which naturally offers time to think and ponder possibility and prolongs conversations.

I don't always send art.  More often I send goofy funny random stuff I find on clearance or for very little expense - strange & bizarre things that beg one to ponder why they even exist or to just revel in their weirdness.  Many times, it costs much more to mail the object than the object itself, but that's okay because to me it's about the randomness of receiving it on the other end.

My big hope is that my mail helps to rekindle that sense of childhood wonder and excitement at receiving mail.  All too often our adult lives bring unexciting mail: bills, junk mail and ads geared towards consumerism convincing us to buy things (and ideas), notices...  not much fun, random, totally unexpected things that arrive without pretense...  But mail can be fun and can be treasured.  It can still be correspondence and not just a formality that brings boring and unwanted news or only comes once or twice per year at appointed times.  It can exist without occasion for it's own sake, outside of birthdays, illness, funerals, holidays, etc..  So consider sending someone you care about a note or something to let them know you're thinking of them.

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