Like Pearls by Morehshin Allahyari is an animated and interactive mash-up of the Farsi spam Allahyari receives in her mailbox.
Tim Devin, a conceptual artist based in Boston is producing one of the most striking magazines in the world: you can’t buy it from a newsstand, nor from any bookshop, and you can’t even read it on the Internet. The encounter with “i left this here for you to read” (this is its name) can only happen by chance. About once a month, a new issue is printed of just fifty copies, and, thanks to a network of volunteers, is distributed in 25 cities across the USA and Canada. These copies are left in public spaces; you might find one on a park bench or on a bus seat. Those who find them can take and enjoy the exclusive pleasure of reading them. The magazine contains brief articles, images and tiny objects that can fit into a letter envelope or can be taped to a sheet of paper. All the contributions come from volunteers from all over the world. Devin’s project is based on the possibility offered by the Internet to put together a temporary global editorial staff. The meaning of this project isn’t its peculiar use of digital media: it can only be understood by considering the relation that is created between public space and art object. Devin’s creation tears the continuum of the commercial communication which dominates public spaces and induces an emotional shift: it’s precisely the surprise in finding it that breaks our routine and is full of the anonymous and indifferent encounters we’re used to.