[For those wondering how this might be about (tele)presence, see Esther Milne’s ISPR 2011 paper, Historical Provocations: Postal Presence, Intimate Absence and Public Privacy. –Matthew ]
1st Global Conference
Letters & Letter Writing – Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Tuesday 18th March – Thursday 20th March 2014
Prague, Czech Republic
Call for Presentations
The letter has been one of the most important forms of communication over thousands of years across many cultures and continents. Whether personal, professional or an open statement of intent it can covey the most intimate messages or declare the most inflammatory of declarations. It can be delivered by hand, by postman, by pigeon, by bottle, by smartphone, by internet connection or even by space ship. It can be cherished, collected, published, censored, blogged, stolen, steamed open, torn up, buried, displayed. It can be written on paper, papyrus, skin, in the sand, in wax, on sweet wrappers and on computer screens. It can be written with quills, pens, keyboards, chalk and in ink, in blood, in lemon juice, in light, with love, with hate, with desperation, with pride, with humiliation and with satisfaction. Correspondingly, it can take seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks or even years to reach its destination, whether sent to someone in the next room, or via a time capsule to people 50 years in the future. A letter is not just the means to communicate to others, but a way in which we communicate who, what and where we are and the times that we live in, consequently, being as much about the interconnectedness of identity, place and culture through time as it is about the immediate connection to those around us.
A striking example of such interconnectedness and entanglement survives from ancient Rome in the Letters to Atticus of Marcus Tullius Cicero written between 68-44 BCE. Originally hand written on papyri using a reed pen, they were delivered using a network of slaves often taking up to 4 weeks to reach their destination. Intended only to be read by his friend, this private correspondence was published by an unknown editor sometime after Cicero’s death and enjoyed as a literary work. Now available as both book and hypertext, its rich contents provide valuable information on many aspects of Roman life, not to mention the history of his times.
This timely consideration of the forms, materials and methods used to connect to ourselves and to others in and through time invites abstracts on the following themes for any historical period or geographical location: Read more on Call: 1st Global Conference Letters & Letter Writing – Signed, Sealed, Delivered…