Mailboxes Are People Too

Public Performance-installations - Seattle and San Francisco, 2006
Video with camera and editing by Martin Ballew - Seattle, 2006

The following was read at the video premier at Washington Ensemble Theatre, in Seattle, in April, 2006

When I moved to Seattle in 2000, I started documenting the weathered posters and staples clinging to utility poles and soon began to print and weather my own posters and construct them into recognizable faces on the poles using recycled staples pulled from other poles. Through this work, I developed a kind of personal relationship with the poles: They became tall bodies that I touched for days at a time. I felt a lot like a mortician, constructing human faces out of the materials that already cover their skins.

I soon started to notice mailboxes because like the poles, they are ubiquitous, scarred, overlooked or at least not talked about or publicly appreciated. Also like poles, the Mailboxes’ forms have human qualities. They're like friendly little old men and women - blue Oompa-Loompas - standing proud, squat, as tall as they can. They're there all the time, always open, always ready to receive and protect a love letter, birthday card, or tax return.

It made me sad to see them a little neglected, maybe a little lonely—let’s face it, who besides the mail carrier spends more than 5 seconds with a mailbox? It gets a little cold out there sometimes and Mailboxes Are People Too! And so I decided to become the persona – the part of me—who gives mailboxes some human love and a human quality for passerby to recognize.

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