Project 1- ‘Distant Dialogues’
In the three perspectives of correspondence, Diana Ali’s work involves a fictionalized character. She writes back to junk mail and actual people crossing over an adopted persona and a sense of self exposure as well as self concealment. There is a critique of the junk mail, the act of correspondence and the impersonal with the personal through a play of humour. The slight absurd gesture takes away from the everyday of receiving such mail but plays on the romantically high whilst involving an internalized duality and inordinately being exposed to the gaze of others. The viewers are invited to read the books of correspondence and open the private hidden envelops by gathering in a collective reading area but absorbing in a pseudo intimacy.
Stage One (June 2009)- A call out was disseminated through various websites and contacts for international volunteers to participate in a global correspondence project.
The project first reached out to passer-bys worldwide asking them to engage in a dialogue with the artist for one year. It involved a sense of trust, curiosity, and connectivity as well as a chance encounter through correspondence. Participants in different locations volunteered to put up the ‘call for correspondence’ in the form of a small poster where it may have intervened in someone’s everyday routine, such as, a bus stop, in a phone box or on a lamp post.
Stage Two (September 2009) – Received Correspondence
Diana Ali asked participants around the world to put up a poster asking passer-bys to have a correspondence with her for one year. Little did she expect that almost all of her received letters would be from companies promoting themselves rather than actual people? Without breaking her own rules, Diana began to have a dialogue with these ‘junkies’ in the hope that they may continue to have a dialogue with her. Some do so, without personally addressing the sender. Others ignore her and some, we may assume have been lost in the post. The three books are a collection of the correspondence with various companies locally and internationally, along with their gifts of leaflets, flyers and paraphernalia. Diana still remains waiting to hear from them.
Stage Three- (December 2009) Fictional Replies
An alternative approach to Diana Ali’s correspondence work stems from the silence of a one way dialogue. Although the letters arrived, were read and reciprocated, there was never a continued relationship. The asking of global passer-bys to have a correspondence with Diana for one year was mainly from corporate businesses and companies. Despite the impersonal treatment of her genuine offer, she decided to open out the correspondence to participants inviting them to fictionalize the replies as though they were the original company writing to her initially. This alternative correspondence allowed her to continue the dialogue until the dialogue naturally ceased. The next three books are a collection of the fictional correspondence Diana has had with the original letters she responded with. In reality, it still remains a one way dialogue.
Project 2- ‘The Please Replies….’
To further the process of prompting fake correspondence, the blog address was written on blank postcards and dispersed in various locations. In addition, the letters written to the companies were photocopied and displayed in several sites inviting passer-by’s to reply to them.
Project 3- ‘Dear Diana….’
‘Dear Diana’ incorporates the lives of four other Diana Ali’s. Each connects with another through an event, personal history or through a professional service. The Diana Ali’s are worried, confused, angry and/or reminiscent of an element of another’s life and the work on display is the written correspondence between them all. The audience is invited to read the letters, to read in between the lines and to whisper suspicions about what they might have been convicted of. The letters reveal more than a simple form of communication; they expose jealousy, remorse, vengeance and a hidden narrative through the epistolary form of correspondence.
“Google Me” is an exhibition of interpretive portraits that uses Google to construct the identity of each artists name. It is aimed at artists who touch on portraiture, identity or fictional representations of character within their practice, inviting the use of different mediums including drawing, sculpture, sound, video, photography, music and costume. The show is an opportunity to make a one-off work outside of your usual practice by exploiting that narcissistic urge to explore your online identity.” Carmen Reid and Elyss McCleary.
Project 4- ‘Post-Authorship’
Artists, writers and thinkers from opposite parts of the world translate and exchange the verbal into the visual, the local to the global in an exploration of collaborative postcard collecting and interchanging. The transmission and retrieval of these responses creates the emergence of new narratives that are shared and reacted upon through hybrid texts, images and temporary ownership. The authors are a global network of artists.
The participants are asked to write down a quote on a blank postcard. A quote can be something they heard a passer-by say or it could be from an inspirational iconic figure.
This postcard is then passed onto someone in a different country who interprets the quote visually on the same postcard but on the reverse side.
Eventually all postcards are sent to the original place of distribution and collected as a mass piece of collaborative work.
This project explores language and visual interchange and transmission from one person to another and our interpretations of fragments of different cultures as it is passed on globally. All correspondence is recorded on the objects (postcards) which have been battered; manipulated, over-written but simultaneously will carry the mutual physical handlings of the written into the visual.
Project 5- ‘Post-Authorship Poster’
The poster below displays all the postcards sent and received. 10 posters were sent to 10 remote post offices in the world in exchange for a response. Non have been responded to.