Par Avion; Towards a Methodology of Contemporary Postal Technologies

L.A. Hilton and Macon Holt




The inspiration for this project was a series of correspondences between Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, conducted toward the end of Adorno’s life. Interspersed between the complex practicalities of the travel arrangements are intriguing advancements of half argued points and incomplete analysis of situations coming into being. Not because there is no time to construct an argument but the space allows for process. These give a view behind the workings of grand philosophical and social projects. Workings that perhaps we should not see and arguably do not need to but seem to offer more than simply voyeuristic thrill. They show thinking in progress and in an encounter, outside of a contrived circumstance; as an essential part of social communication at a distance.
In Archive Fever, Derrida remarks that with the advent of email then age of the vast corpus of letters in the archive had come to an end as the technology had formed a normative mode of communication. The need to imbue so much consideration to the content of near instantaneous prepaid communication was removed and replaced entirely with practical concerns in the seeming ever increasing speed of communicative capitalism. Instantaneous expressing responses to that which is only wisps of what it will later become, unable to grasp anything larger, as so much smoke. The hive mind is a marketplace of truth and thought becomes the synonym of reaction. The Facebook message is no longer allowed the default formalism of an email, only that of the instant message.
We don’t wish only to dwell nostalgia. We don’t wish to spend months failing to arrange to meet in Switzerland. But we wish to create a space to think together that may or may not be of interest out of our times. The egotistical thrill of being rejected in the future rather than simply disappearing. To create this space in our time we must contrive and thus we must recognise out contrivance. We shall correspond together for ourselves and for this publication (first column, formal letters of investigation). To think through our communication on emergent themes and the forms of life they engender during physical separation. Connected by instant communication we shall simultaneously illustrate out contrivance as we arrange what to share to discuss and include (second practical messages of how this to be and images to illustrate). We do not seek to revive or return to the letter, in denial of what it is to live now. But to learn from what has come before. To use a relational space and time to think together, whilst retaining the ability of instantaneous criticality. A method of public thought subject to the limitations of…