Billet-doux Project 2013

Billets-Doux is an Arts Council Wales funded R&D project involving the anonymous placing of love notes in library books

Billet-doux Project 2103

Billets-Doux is an Arts Council Wales funded R&D project involving the anonymous placing of love notes in library books.  

 

The concept is a simple one. I made a series of miniature faux nineteenth-century letters which I ‘planted’ inside library books. They may or may not be found. Their fate is serendipitous. The letters are constructed using endpapers from second-hand books. I will not know who comes upon them, what they do with them, or indeed what effect they have on them. The notes are hand-written – using traces of other people’s love messages. They are sealed with wax. My intention was to make something precious, something intimate, that has the possibility of ‘touching’ the finder. These are wholly anonymous encounters. I place these billets secretively – not waiting to see who comes upon them. The paper, the written texts are all borrowed, copied or found. Such billets-doux are a kind of innocent marginalia, non-invasive, adulterative or coercive - a gentle happenchance, which may or may not evoke warmth and pleasure.

In essence, this project is concerned with the possibilities of forming a private, one-to-one relationship with an unknown audience. However, it is also about championing the role of libraries and re-invigorating an interest in hand-written letters as vessels of tender communication. By getting others to write the texts for me – which I do by sending out written requests for them to do so – I have extended the reach of the project whilst protecting my anonymity. I wish my interaction with this endeavour is to be light – untraceable – an intimacy at a discreet, wary distance.

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Billet-doux - I love yous

EllenBell_Talk_to_Me_book_installation

Billet-doux - books

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Billet-doux in book

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Billet-doux - love notes

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