Philly Artists Mail Their Art Works to Complete Strangers


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If a piece of art from a complete stranger fell through your mail slot recently, here’s why: Curator Laris Kreslins cultivated a team of more than 25 artists who were tasked to create a piece of art that they duplicated and then sent to a random person in the U.S. The other piece will hang in an exhibit that opens this weekend at Old City’s Hooloon Art.

Kreslins, a graduate of Temple, explains the inspiration behind the project,  which is titled “duplicate. until response.”

“I was inspired by balloon release projects that elementary school would do in the 1980s. Students would release a balloon with a note and the school’s address attached in hopes that someone would find it and write back. Sometimes hundreds of balloons were released at once. In a digital world, we’re so used to immediate responses and sometimes there is a lack of surprise. I am hoping to capture some of whimsy and provoke responses from the recipients with this experimental ‘analog’ project.”

To begin, he asked himself “How would the world change if everyone said ‘Hi’ to a complete stranger?” In this case, the greeting is an 18-by-24-inch work of art, and the strangers were randomly sourced from public phone books from across the country. Each package that was mailed contained a letter explaining the project and encouraging feedback, hence the whole balloon / pen pal thing.

“duplicate. until response” gets a grand opening tomorrow, February 7th, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Hooloon Art (53 North 2nd Street). There you will be able to see the original works of art along with any feedback that was returned from the strangers. The exhibit will hang at Hooloon through March 15th. More information can be found here.

duplicate then response