Who? Much of the work of artist, filmmaker and writer Miranda July revolves around interaction – from her participatory website Learning To Love You More, comprised of work made by the general public in response to assignments set by July and fellow artist Harrell Fletcher, to her interactive sculpture garden, Eleven Heavy Things, for the 2009 Venice Biennale. But her latest project, We Think Alone, allows July's audience a lazier, delightfully voyeuristic form of participation, their only requirement being to read a selection of emails curated and sent out by July on a weekly basis.
What? The work was commissioned by Stockholm gallery Magasin 3 and will form a part of their upcoming exhibition On the Tip of My Tongue – a series of events and projects designed to challenge conventional exhibition situations. To begin, July approached 10 collaborators from among her friends and acquaintances, including Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Girls creator and actress Lena Dunham and Kirsten Dunst, and asked them to forward her a selection of sent emails – written by themselves to anyone from agents to mothers to boyfriends – relating to a variety of different themes. July then grouped these into separate compendiums, according to theme, to be sent out to the project's subscribers every Monday for 20 weeks (beginning this week and ending November 11).
"We Think Alone allows its audience a delightfully voyeuristic form of participation"
Why? Although this may sound like a complicated process, like July's other projects and films, it is an entirely engaging and thought-provoking experience, and simply requires the entry of an email address on the project's website before you're signed up and ready to read. Of course, the fact that each participant is a person of creative, and public, interest makes the piece all the more intriguing and reflective of our current age. On the concept behind We Think Alone, July explains: "It has given me the excuse to read my friends’ emails and the emails of some people I wish I was friends with and for better or worse it’s changed the way I see all of them. I think I really know them now. But our inner life is not actually the same thing as our life on the computer — a quiet person might !!!! a lot. A person with a busy mind might write almost nothing. And of course while none of these emails were originally intended to be read by me (much less you*), they were all carefully selected by their authors in response to my list of email genres — so self-portraiture is quietly at work here. Privacy, the art of it, is evolving."
Be a part of We Think Alone by signing up here.
Text by Daisy Woodward