I talked to Emily on the phone in March 2004. She published an ad in Libération. She was looking for someone who would write letters to her, and who would even pay for those letters. It was like a six-month subscription. People were not meant to write; she was the only one who would write the letters. I loved the idea, obviously. Without ever meeting in person, we exchanged around 40 letters before we decided to do something together. We talked about everything, we knew each other well. Among others was made without direct contact only through a common person we knew, Veronique Leyrit, our graphic designer.
The exhibition gallery was the leaflet. We started with suggestions we each made and then, the result was printed on both sides of the leaflet. Emily chose « Nobody's story » or how to talk about the ordinary day of an anonymous person. I suggested three plays with very detailed indications (copy a precise page Libération newspaper, take a picture of the entrance door of the building of this same newspaper and write an ad you dream of being published), or less detailed (create an experiment with old people to get « 4 truths ») or even less detailed (only the title « Not yesterday, nor tomorrow »).
1000 copies were printed and given to our friends and families, and handed in public places. There is at least one at the BNF (*the national Library of France) and another one at the MOMA library in New York. Emily is American, we are almost the same age. She lived in Paris for a few years, then she left to live in Mexico, then she left to go to Los Angeles where she still lives and creates.
My hen was born at this time, it is the picture that illustrates the title « not yesterday, nor tomorrow ». As an answer to this title, Emily printed a postcard she glued on all the leaflets. At the back of the postcard, there is rather blurry picture of two legs levitating. Emily used an excerpt from one of my letters: « Tonight, I dreamt of us. We were dancing on a kind of dance floor, in front of other people. The dance consisted in quick turns. Sometimes, I would lift you, sometimes you would. It was an aerial sensation. But the most magical time was when we could both lift and kept on turning, in each other’s arms. Then, we were quite surprised by our power...».
Emily Mast is MY American pen friend. I hope to keep on writing her emails, I hope to create new projects with her, seeing her or without seeing her, or just by chance, or when we are much older.