What is (the) time?, 2021, Collection of postal correspondence sent and received by the artist which asks or says what the time is, dimensions variable

What is (the) time? is a collaborative mail art project, exploring time in relation to how we communicate. Since February 2021, I have  been sending letters to people – friends, family, academics, artists, and more besides – to ask what the time is. The responses have taken a range of forms: concise and literal, philosophical, artistic, and lost-in-the-post. You can see an archive of the correspondence on this site, ordered by the time the first letter was sent to each participant.

Selected letters are also below.

Above letters are from (in order): me, Jess Mathews, Emmy Webster, Seungwon Jung, Sergio Colado, Shamita Sharmacharja, Priyesh Mistry, Monica Perez Vega, Ailbhe Murphy, Meave Haughey, Shenel Shefik, Leila Baker, Professor Peter Kawalek, Jo Pester, Chris Alton, Sue Morison, Stan and Prue Baker, Will Ashon, David Bell, Jacob Rosamond, Joe Richardson, Thomas Goddard, Niamh Carew, Maréga Palser and Eddie Barbour.

Names of all correspondents (listed alphabetically):

Chris Alton, Miriam Ashon, Will Ashon, Leila Baker, Stan and Prue Baker, Uta Baldauf, Beatrice Banks, Desmond Banks, Eddie Barbour, David Bell, Emma Brown, Mary Burke, Martin John Callanan, Niamh Carew, Dr Ksenia Chmutina, Sergio Colado, Louise Collins, Amy Conti, Fraser Crichton, Erin Donnelly, Laura Evans, Simon Faithfull, Natasha Freeman, Thomas Goddard, Joy Gregory, Katie Haines, Rosie Hart, Meave Haughey, Amelia Hawk, FC Izaac, Cecile Johnson Soliz, Martha Jordan, Seungwon Jung, Professor Peter Kawalek, Roshanak (Roshi) Khakban, Jago Khan, Maude Khan, Anne-Liis Kogan, Jasmine Shigemura Lee, Andrea Maffioli, Dr Arianna Maiorani, Jess Mathews, Professor Marsha Meskimmon, Nic Meyer, Priyesh Mistry, Christina Shelagh Mongelli, Heather Morison, Sue Morison, Tony Morison, Annie Morris, Ailbhe Murphy, Kirsty Ogg, Maréga Palser, The Pearce White Family, Monica Perez Vega, Jo Pester, Jason Pinder, Emma Plover, Robyn Rees, Anna and Vitus Reisenbichler, resting up collective, Joe Richardson, Jacob Rosamond, Sarah Sawyer, Shamita Sharmacharja, Shenel Shefik, Jessica Slater, Julie Smith, Susan Stockwell, Professor Meghan Sullivan, Evan Thomas, Gavin Wade, Professor Claire Warwick, Emmy Webster, Yuki Yamamoto, Anam Zafar

Plus others who preferred their correspondence to remain private or whose letters were lost in the post…

What is (the) time? was commissioned by Radar, Loughborough University and EOP (Extra-Ordinary People), Eastside Projects, Birmingham as a response to Loughborough University’s Institute of Advanced Studies’ year-long programme about Time.

Special thanks to Amelia Hawk and David Bell for all their support during this project and to Annabelle Loveday for building the project website.