letters between us, revisited

2018
Print series

I found an archive of photographs of my mother, who passed away when I was four years old. I never got to know her and I don’t even know what the sound of her voice was like. To bridge this gap between me and someone who I should be close to, I designed and created a full set of movable type that is laser etched with photographs of her or us together (located in the center of this room).

Working in letterpress is a hands-on and labor-intensive process where string is used to tie words together, wood and metal are used as components to arrange space, and layers of paper help control ink impression. If I cannot describe our relationship with verbal language, perhaps I can communicate through the tools of letterpress that shape language. 

In these prints, materials from letterpress printing are embedded as images–bars of leading, torn pieces of paper, found pieces of type–that are combined with my photographic movable type, which print “you,” “me,” “us,” and “we.” Absence becomes presence through ink and cut-out text, allowing me to write her memory into existence. Even though individuals may be absent from our lives, sometimes there are still traces of them left for us to piece together in new ways for understanding.