CHAT-CHAIN-MAIL

Katy Whitaker (UK) and Lara Band (UK)

How can people come together at a time of enforced separation? Inspired by Client Culture’s postal zine project Cross Pollination for Antiuniversity 2020, CHAT-CHAIN-MAIL is a Mail Art project for festivalCHAT building a chain of thoughts, ideas and art as the piece moves through the physical world.

This event is open now so get involved!

Mail Art developed in contemporary art movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Also known as postal art, Mail Art is a populist art movement that involves making small pieces to be sent in the post. These artworks are commonly postcards, small zines, little collages or textual pieces, they make use of everyday materials, found materials, rubber stamps, and home printing, but ultimately includes anything that can be put in an envelope and sent by post.

Mail Art is thus an egalitarian art-form. It is cheap and it circumvents the conventional art market. It is global, putting people in touch with one another around the world via international postal services. Mail Art often chimes with the ethos of ‘Reuse, Repair, Recycle’ in the materials found, selected, adapted, and collated to make the pieces.

It is not only the image that matters. The material properties and networked nature of Mail Art are things that archaeology has the means to attend to. And the connectedness of Mail Art, tangible items whose properties are not mediated by a screen, affords the possibility of real-life, physical inter-connection between people otherwise kept apart from one-another in a time of pandemic. The journey that our Mail Art will take and its transformation through each pair of creative hands are as, if not more, important, than the final completed piece that we can share.

How this will work:

If you’d like to take part sign up between now and the last day of festivalCHAT, Friday 30 October 2020 by emailing us at chatchainmail@gmail.com . We’ll send you guidelines for how the project will work, read and agree to these (ask if you’ve any questions) and we’ll add you to the list!

On the first day of festivalCHAT, Friday 23 October we’ll start CHAT-CHAIN-MAIL by posting an opening piece to the first person on the list. The recipient will have three days to add their contribution before posting it on to the next participant. We’ll only share your address with the previous contributor in the chain and we won’t keep your contact details after.

Each person will have three days to add their piece, it can be a response to the previous piece or something new: size guide is a maximum of two sides of A4 paper with thoughts, art and ideas using whatever materials you like. Email us when you’ve completed your piece and we’ll send you the address of the next person to send it to.

CHAT-CHAIN-MAIL will inevitably continue its travels after festivalCHAT so to document the package as it travels through festivalCHAT-time and beyond we’d like contributors to take a picture of their work, in whole or part, to share on social media with #FestivalCHAT2020 #ChatChainMail. The final piece will be scanned for documenting on the festivalCHAT and/or CHAT website and the piece itself will travel to the next live CHAT accompanied by an approximate map of its journey, for perusal in person.

#CHATChainMail @_Laraband @artefactual_KW