Emily Dyer
~ Utah

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Artist book by Emily Dyer  
Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public
BEmily Dyer
Salt Lake City, Utah: Emily Dyer, 2014. Edition of 350.

Four 11 x 17" broadsides in manila envelope. Printed on 20lb Hammermill Ivory paper at the Book Arts Studio in the J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Emily Dyer: "This past summer, my best friend and I found ourselves crying in public for various reasons and in various places (multiple sidewalks, a gas station, an auto parts stores, a concrete bench outside a law building). We made total spectacles of ourselves.

"People who cry in public force everyone to witness – it's completely embarrassing and also sort of awesome. We want our essay to perform this kind of spectacle. The kind where complete strangers are pulled into another person's intimate grief just by sharing the public space."

This is documentation of a public art project that had its first life as a multi-city (and international) installation. Supporters of the project chose 3 posters to display somewhere in public on a designated day and kept a fourth poster for themselves. Pictures of the displayed posters can be seen on www.acceptablereasonstocryinpublic.com.

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How to Write a Crazy Love Letter
By Emily Dyer
Salt Lake City, Utah: J. Willard Marriott Library, 2012. Edition of 300.

11 x 17"; 7 broadsides and 1 letter to the curator. Slipped in manila envelope with title and colophon information printed on each side.

This is part an experiment in interactive public art, part a validation of our need for romance, and part pure fun. Sets of 7 letterpress printed broadside containing advice of how to write a love letter were printed (over 2400 broadsides in all). Each broadside contained two snippets of advice (one in large wooden type, another in smaller conventional type) and a QR code. 275 sets were sent to 163 volunteers (located all over the US and even in Spain) with instructions on posting the broadsides in time for Valentine's Day 2012. The results of this experiment – this letterpress and virtual and whimsical installation – are documented at howtowriteacrazyloveletter.wordpress.com.

Emily Dyer, personal email: "I decided to use QR codes with the love letters because I'm fascinated with how hyperlink technology can be paired with the labor intensive process of letterpress or book art. The contrast also seemed fitting for a love letter project where QR codes meant the 'confession' of love could be extended into all sorts of different forms: first the physical scanned document, then its virtually permanent space online, and then the impermanent arrangement of broadsides linking to the letters. The entire project, the printing, the distribution, all the cities, all the volunteers –the entire project was both ephemeral & extravagant, but a confession of love can sometimes only be ephemeral & extravagant. "

Megan Gessel, The Daily Utah Chronicle: "In a tribute to letterpress printing, a confession of love’s beauty and struggle and a celebration of whimsy, one student is spreading random delight as a part of her master’s thesis. 'How to Write a Crazy Love Letter' features the installation art of almost 2,000 broadside posters posted anonymously around the country during the past the past week, with the concluding pieces going up on Valentine’s Day.

"The purpose of it is just to be delightful,' said the artist, a graduate student in the creative writing program. 'I want people to read [the posters] and be happy.'

"The posters, distributed in sets of seven, feature phrases that are both love letters and instructions on how to write them, such as piece No. 1, 'The crazy love letter must only confess,' or piece No. 5, 'You must be certain they secretly adore you.' The posters also include smaller text that elaborates on the bold text and a large QR code that, when scanned, leads to letters on the project’s blog.

"Posters have been spotted from trees in a Cedar City yard to a walkway in Washington, D.C. They have also been spotted on a mailbox in La Jolla, Calif., and in a tunnel on the BYU campus, according to photos on the blog. ...

"The student said the project is a part of her master’s thesis but emerged mainly out of curiosity and for fun.

“'The whole project was an experiment,' she said. 'Will people follow the QR codes? Will people take down the posters and take them home? Throw them away? How long could a poster survive on a wall without being stolen? Lots were taken down.'

"The broadside posters were printed over nine days with the help of eight people, using wood type, metal type and photopolymer plates, according to the blog. Unlike digital printing, the process included standing and physically rolling the press, which the student said was a part of the art. "

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Page last update: 03.13.15


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