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Speculative applications

Sending 24 letters to the jury of an art exhibition

Each year for Christmas, French museum Le Magasin holds a collective exhibition. Drawing inspiration from the tradition of Christmas advent calendars, I sent the jury one application letter every day, during a twenty-four day time period. On each letter, I wrote my contact details and the sentence: "I’d really like to take part in the Christmas exhibition". Each day, the quality of the letter’s design improved. The final outcome consists of the 24 letters all lined up, accompanied by their respective envelopes.

Each December, Grenoble’s contemporary art museum Le Magasin has a call for entries for their Christmas exhibition. About 8% of the applications are selected. In 2011, I wanted to participate but had no proper artistic portfolio. 

I wondered what was the less entertaining part of the selection process, from the curators' point of view. I assumed it was to check the correctness of the official application form  so I decided to try to make this part more entertaining. I decided to send the curators multiple letters with the same message, i.e. my initial goal: "I’d really like to take part in the Christmas exhibition". To offset the dullness of the repetition, I created a graphc system and used various graphic techniques, inspired by  Marian Bantjes’ book I Wonder, where she goes from handwriting to intricate vector-based work.

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I designed a system where the attributes of my design improved incrementally.

Eventually, I wondered how many letters to send. The deadline was October 24th. Since the exhibition was dubbed “Christmas exhibition”, I had to send 24 letters in 24 days, as a reference to the Christmas tradition of advent calendars. I got selected, despite my lack of public experience. I displayed the letters all lined up in the museum. One visitor stole one letter.