Annabel Castro Meagher

Artist Statement


I'm interested in exploring the personal digital information of the analog world, the concept of the other as a person and the real and virtual distances that separate us. I am also interested in the physicality of handwritten words and their use as an action tool. In the specific case of the net-project: 45 letters to Magnussons before the spring... I worked, like Spam, with strangers' names and addresses extracted from the web. I linked these names and their information to intimate data about me through personal letters, photographs and the Internet.

Poetry, like search engines, generates new contexts for old words and doing so modifies their resonance. It was my intention to modify the resonance of these names with a purpose other than publicity: to visualize what designates them in the virtual public environment in a personal intimate tone. I wrote, to strangers? names, personal letters assuming like spam, they were interested in what I wanted to say. I took pictures of the handwritten data before I sent it in physical form to the name owners (see Fig 1.)

Afterwards I returned the names to where they came from, but with a new environment. On the web-work these names are presented in an email type box next to their address, the date when I mailed their letter and a subject line summarizing the theme of it. When you click the name you are able to see pictures of the letter inside my flat and stamped by the post office, a map to their home and an aerial picture of its location. The Magnussons entered in contact with this "intromission" as they rip open the envelope and a year afterwards as they click through the site. That is if they decide to visit the link in the postcard personally mailed to them. I waited a year before uploading the site to give enough time for memory links to grow to and from this event inside each receiver?s mind, so that the sight of the letter?s picture will bring back some personal memories. Perhaps this, when received as an alien object, could now seem familiar and remind them of something about themselves even though it might still be uncomfortable (see Fig 2.)

The digital geography of those I wrote to was altered and it now has a tie to mine. The website is a public document of the private epistolary event between each Magnusson and me. It documents these performances for a single person made with a letter as an action tool and the internet as a context constructor (see Fig 3.)

This project addresses the ones that are designated on the Internet: individuals whose personal information is available or extractable from the net. The virtual designates things from the real world, can the designation take over the designated, and who decides how to designate things, you, and us?

Annabel Castro Meagher Bio

Annabel Castro Meagher is a Mexican artist working with digital media. She has an MFA in Visual Arts and an MSc in Art. She is Technology Professor at the Computer Center of the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and visual arts academic advisor at the Latin-American Institute for Communication Technology (ILCE) (UNAM). Her work has been shown at "Video as an urban condition" in London, "Art Tech Media 06" at the National Museum Art Center Queen Sofia in Madrid, "Tokyo Style in Gothenburg" at Röda Sten in Sweden and "04 Chopo" at the University Museum Chopo in Mexico City among other venues. Her work is part of the Iberian American University art collection.