Dear all,

Vous vous demandez ce qu’est Dear ? Considérez dans ce cas que c’est un lieu de rendez-vous où critiques, journalistes, penseurs contemporains et artistes se rencontrent ; un lieu où le temps est compté et où les archives s’altèrent. Ce site internet rend public leurs correspondances, en publiant automatiquement le contenu brut de leurs emails.

À propos de Dear

Trop souvent « traduites », appauvries, par l’exercice contraint de l’entretien ou des propos rapportés, les relations privilégiées qu’établissent critiques et artistes tout au long du processus de création semblent dissimulées derrière un masque froid.
Créé au printemps 2015, Dear entend mettre en lumière ces correspondances invisibles par un échange épistolaire publique et sans filtre ; avec la volonté de mettre à l’épreuve, par l’exigence d’un dialogue soutenu, le processus de production lui-même.
Par l’urgence qu’entraine l’absence d’échanges, laissant s’éloigner, jour après jour, le message précédent ; par la mise en page automatique d’un contenu brut envoyé par email, et par la disparition progressive, immuable des données et des reflexions d’hier ; Dear vise à engager le dialogue décomplexé d’un artiste et d’un critique, afin de construire, à deux, une reflexion commune.


Dear est une initiative de l’association Simon Bolivar, composée de Cédric Aurelle, Marie Descourtieux, Gilles Drouault, Caroline Ferreira, Emmanuelle Lequeux et Claire Moulène.
Développement de la plateforme : Clément Ducerf.
Élaboration du projet : Adel Cersaque.

Dear bénéficie d’une bourse du DICREAM.

Dear all,

If you do wonder what is Dear, you might as well think of it as a meeting place, where critics, journalists, contemporary thinkers and artists gather ; a place where time is counted and archives alterable. This website is the public display of their live correspondences, automatically publishing the raw content of their emails.

About Dear

Too often “translated”, impoverished by the constrained practice of the interview, the exclusive relationship between critics and artists seem to be concealed behind a cold mask.
Created in spring 2015, Dear aims to shine a light on these hidden activities through a public, unrevised correspondence; with the will to challenge, by a constant dialogue, the process of production itself.
With the urgency of preventing time from setting apart one message from the other; through the automated formatting of a raw email content, and as material and past considerations progressively vanish, Dear intends to initiate an upfront dialogue between an artist and a critic, in order to put together a common reflexion.


Dear is the joint initiative of the Association Simon Bolivar:
Cédric Aurelle, Marie Descourtieux, Gilles Drouault, Caroline Ferreira, Emmanuelle Lequeux and Claire Moulène.
Development of the platform: Clément Ducerf.
Created by Adel Cersaque.

Dear received a grant from the DICREAM.

Cécile B. Evans

Cécile B Evans is a Belgian American artist who lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions & commissions include; AGNES – Serpentine Galleries, London; Hyperlinks – Seventeen Gallery, London [both 2014]; Frieze Art Fair New York with Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zurich [2015] ; and The Brightness – Palais de Tokyo, Paris [2013]. Group exhibitions include The Future is Here, It's Just Not Evenly Distributed- 20th Sydney Biennale; COWORKERS- Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; Projections –New York Film Festival; Äppärät – Marfa Ballroom, Texas; Inhuman – Fridericianum, Kassel [all 2015]; La Voix Humaine – Kunstverein Munich; and TTTT – Jerwood Visual Arts Foundation, London [both 2014]. She has received awards including; Andaz Award [2015]; Push Your Art Prize – Orange/Palais de Toyko[2013]; and Emdash Award [2012] (now Frieze Award). Upcoming solo exhibitions include Kunsthalle Winterthur, De Hallen Frans Hals Museum- Haarlem, Tate Liverpool, and Kunsthalle Aarhus [all 2016]. Her work is currently on view at Kunst Werke at the 9th Berlin Biennale, The Present in Drag. Cecile’s website.

Dear Cécile,

How are you ? How were the holidays ? Did you receive your AIBO from Japan
and does it work ?!!!
I’m very curious to know actually…

I came accross that article and found it so interesting:

I guess you must be in the preparation of your show for Tate Liverpool ?
Will you show a new film ?


Hello from Crete,
Where I just arrived !

Thank you for your email, oh my god, I want to meet your AIBO when you receive it. I love the story about the memory stick, it made me think of Rachel’s character in Blade Runner, who has been implanted with childhood memories which constitute the thing she is holding to to believe she is human…
Do you think all this could mean, we should in the near future reconsider what is artificial and non artificial and change our way of evaluating them ? The value of artificial versus non artificial will probably be completely evaluated again, right ?
As you said, so many things around us are not natural anymore say photoshop in magazines, aesthetic surgery and of course the most important, artificial babies (now scientists among other things are working on babies whose certain diseases genes have been removed)…

I would really be curious to see these AIBO robots because what I like so much with dogs (but I’m like you, travelling too much so can’t have a real one!) and find it so fascinating is their instinct of course, the fact they can recognise you by your smell, your voice, the fact that they can detect that you feel bad or aggressive intentions in someone else (it really happened to me when I was a little girl with my dog), so it’s almost strange that a company got the idea to create an artificial dog without all these qualities…or maybe they have some ?! You will let me know!
But concerning Rachel, I always liked her, right, as everyone, she is really touching, and I want her to be considered as a human…we could say she has a soul right, the very same one that the guy in the short novel you sent me wants to be destroyed…

Re I Robot, you know what ? I think I saw it but already completely forgot about it…!

I will go for Blade Runner instead !


Hello from Switzerland! 

Haha! Yes, I  have a white AIBO ERS-7 on its way to me from Japan- currently stuck in customs at the Cromwell sorting office. It will be a performer, along with two humanoid robots, in the exhibition I’m preparing for Tate Liverpool. Yuri already has an older model. Somehow feel with our travel schedules right now this is the only pet we’ll have for a while. 

There’s a community of people dedicated to keeping AIBOs ‘alive’ and even a few Buddhist temples that perform funeral rituals for dead AIBOs. The robot body is commemorated and sometimes (more poignantly) just the memory stick with the dog’s life.

Can’t remember if it’s the video above (I’m installing, so I can’t turn the sound on) or I read somewhere that the Japanese word for soul has a much broader reading than any other language and this predisposes people to extending the notion of the soul to other things. A major tenant of traditional Japanese culture is to strive to improve on nature, nature being the basis for everything. It would make sense then that a robot is treated as an extension to nature. Has a lot to do with imagination of course but in any case could be healthy to learn how to relate to new things. I worry a lot about us being shaped by technology but then think about how much we’ve shaped things… 

Mark Leckey has a great interview in Art Monthly where he says  « in order to get to something, you can’t approach it as if it were an authentic thing. » So many things that are inauthentic- reality tv, surrealism, artificial intelligence even- to me are incredibly useful tools in ‘getting to something’- that something being the intangible, that THING. 

Am reading through some of the essays in The Mind’s I (recommended by Daniel Rourke) and there’s an absurd little short story called An Unfortunate Dualist that in some way relates to the false idea of ‘the authentic self’. Kind of disturbing:

Yes Asimov :). Have you seen I, Robot? It’s based on one of his books

People’s reactions to WTHW have been amazing, total confusion between human and automated voices, rendered and original locations- each time the person seems so confident about their assessment of what’s what. Happy to have it live in their perception now- imagination is something that feels vital these days


Dear Cécile,

i’m writing right now in front of my tv and again in front of another attack (the church in Normandie…), it seems that this constant flow of bad news won’t ever stop…
Since our first exchanges, we saw 3 attacks in Germany (in the train, Munich and Ansbach) and now in France again after Nice…it’s completely crazy…
I didn’t know these theories about the murders rate expending during summer but I think we will remember this awful summer 16, for sure…

This time question is very interesting, the decision to establish a universal time with Greenwich (and as you said « in the centre of the world ») once again during the industrial revolution and in a way to constrain men to a time frame and to regulate and exploit people’s activities through time…
I didn’t know this Felicity tv show, i like the way you are summing up what seems to be a very complicated story! Funny that it’s JJ Abrams who produced it and funnily enough that he decided to inject some science fiction in a tv show that was not probably in the first place intended to take this turn ?!…
I guess he couldn’t stop himself, right ? Couldn’t produce a show without science fiction after all…

These ideas of time jumps are fascinating of course (and so many films discussing that from Terminator to Interstellar and Prometheus…) it reminds me of a book I read by Pierre Bayard « Il existe d’autres mondes ». Pierre Bayard is a writer, a teacher in literature and psychologist. I read several books by him, among them, the very funny and witty « Comment parler des livres que l’on n’a pas lus ». Usually, he is discussing literature in his books but in « Il existe d’autres mondes » his departure point is the scientific theory of Schrodinger’s cat (to sum it up as long as the cat is in the box he is neither dead nor alive… he is considered as being in both states) and the hypothesis of parallel lifes…we’re not doing time jumps anymore but the author try to imagine through literature how things were happening if we all could explore parallel universes and live several lifes. If Felicity could have lived the 2 lifes with her 2 boyfriends and maybe many more…no more regrets, right ? Everything is open to a multitude of possible…
I loved this book because it opened up so many possibilities and even if I’m not sure this would cure our contemporary anxiety, it still gives us food for thought…

More later,


Dear Caroline,

Hope you had a good weekend and got some sun! Looks like your friend was right unfortunately, though people have stopped posting so much. Either people have maxed out or we’re living out the hierarchy of news evolving in which there are clear values as to what ‘matters’ on a public interest scale. Of course, this has always been true in terms of people not caring about stuff that’s not in their frame of reference but now applies to more grotesque things like numbers, population of city, narrative, etc. Like how are my friends from Belgium communicating more about the Republican National Convention than other disasters? How has refugee aid completely dropped out of the conversation? I’m sure there’s a comments thread about it.

Andrew (someone I know from Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford) told me about something called scope insensitivity- basically humans aren’t able to process large numbers. The example he gave was that researchers proposed to a large test group the following scenario: there’s been an oil spill and 20,000 birds lives are in danger. How much money do you estimate would be an appropriate amount to give in order to save the birds? The average response was around 80 USD. The same scenario was proposed to another large group, only the number of birds was changed to 200,000. The average response to the question was still around 80 USD. This must apply to other, non-mathematical elements of trauma…and of course time.

Yes, I’ve thought a lot about this link between the industrial revolution and the information revolution (both are tied to technology and to some extent the automation of human-like tasks, liberating/oppressing groups of people), CC the Invisible Woman in HOIDH. The funny thing about time of course is that there isn’t any more of it, there’s just more stuff that is possible to do within a specific timeframe. Aside from obvious economic and social catastrophes- why not just change time? If the average life expectancy is extending, its not like we’d be giving more time to have less of it? Not necessarily more hours (this has been discussed though!) but more days in the month. I mean, the seasons are totally out of whack anyway and there are multiple theories that the construct of summer (free time + heat) is what spikes the murder rate. We hold on to many things that were supposedly created for us that are no longer working in our favour.

Was walking along the Thames this weekend, past the observatory in Greenwich- where the British Empire (via the Railway Clearing House) created Greenwich mean time based on the assertion that it was the centre of the world. Time has always been political.

Remembered something amazing yesterday, one of JJ Abrams’ earliest projects was a tv show called Felicity (do you know it???) pedestrian NYU hetero love triangle of privilege kind of ‘nombrilist’ drama. Big apartments, etc. Anyway, by the 17th episode of the last season things get unbearably complicated and they graduate, Felicity finally picks one of her two love interests. The next episode jumps forward a little in time (not so unusual): she’s dropped her art dreams to go pre-med after one of the friends from their group (Elena) dies. Her boyfriend cheats on her, love interest #2 is getting married. So the wiccan friend character casts a spell and she time travels back to… September 2001. The rest of the season- five whole episodes- plays out the logistics of the time travel (Elena is alive again, she picks the second guy, she gets locked up in a mental institution, he dies) which is bonkers considering that up until that point it had been a completely naturalistic show.

So if things get too complicated, we time jump. She ends up going back to the future and forgiving her first choice for cheating on her because he broke her out of the mental institution in the parallel past. Everyone is somehow alive again. A few things: are all people who forgive horrible cheaters just time travellers? Or is everyone in the season finale just a ghost? Can a time jump be faked?

Lol, will leave you with those questions.

Dear Cécile,

further to our conversation, watch this

I really like these sentences « this has probably made me the most happy
i’ve been in like, the whole month » or « Apparently, it’s bigger than Tinder
now, which is weird to compare it to, but yeah. »


And to answer to your cartoon image, my favorite cartoon is Wile E. Coyote
and the Road Runner, very linked to my previous email!

Dear Cécile,

Yes, this constant flow of images and information is really disturbing. i
was talking last night with a friend and we were telling each other how
anxiety has raised in our life to a point we’ve never experienced
before…and all this is linked with technology growing in our life more and
more and this addiction to the news (and specifically the horrible news
we’re are getting more and more often these days) and to get more
information, faster and faster or and I agree with you with the images of
September 11th as a repetitive pattern that you cannot stop watching even
if it’s horrible…

But there is so many questions to discuss and of course I don’t think as
well they are making us passive or less engaged but maybe we need to be
less naive with this flow of information and we need to learn how to cope
with it in a better way.
It’s like people who write on their fb page that they forbid Facebook to
use its content whereas of course Facebook can use this content without our

I was watching this program on France Culture and they discuss question of
acceleration of time, which is linked with all these questions of
technology taking a bigger part in our life. One of the guest reminds us
that the industrial revolution can be compared with the digital revolution
and also that finance has always been linked with technology, from the
start, from the invention of the clock to new technologies now that should
allow us to give us more time but yet the paradox being we always have the
impression that we have less and less time available.

That’s why I found it super interesting that you decided to organize a
dinner for your show at Barbara Seiler and I guess you took the time to
enjoy it!

What it means to be human in the future is a fascinating question, but i
have the impression we all are stumbling in the dark for the time being…

More later!


p.s. I wrote this only a day ago and since last night the use of these channels exploded again. We tried to follow on Periscope and Facebook Live (poorly designed maps interface), where basically you can jump onto livestreams around the country (Turkey) and catch a very subjective glimpse of what people wanted us to see. On Periscope, there are commenters that speak directly to the streamer trying to get more information (in this case)- we saw quite a few more traditional medias desperately grabbing for content/information to keep up. There was so much misinformation being circulated by the media and people kept tweeting the livestreams at news organisations as evidence to correct them. And others in the world feeling like they were a part of it, but again, in that certain way.
Hi Caroline!

Yes absolutely very happy to start this conversation. I am actually deep in some research, while the rest of the world keeps getting profoundly strange, so the idea of a correspondence with you is a relief. I look forward to getting your thoughts in particular.

Anna is my best and one of my oldest friends :) She’s a formidable actress who has been in many of my works, as a performer and yes that incredible letter she wrote to Hugh Jackman on the set of a Lipton’s Ice Tea Commercial. She also happens to be a successful private chef. Barbara and I invited her to create a dinner in response to Anna’s and my ongoing conversations as I was developing *What the Heart Wants, *which were about what it could mean to be human in the future, who gets to be a person, and what is at stake at the moment (especially in regards to the increasing integration of technology into our lives). We wanted to come at it in a different direction, one that wouldn’t be a total bummer and feeding people seemed the most practical solution.

As for this tumultuous time (which keeps on keeping)- Am currently extending my view on the relationship between humans and machines to deal with the movement of information- the circulation of data and our feelings across (now clearly defined) channels. The rapid leaks of content after an event, good or bad, followed by stretches of no discernible resolution has started to feel like a pattern these last decade.

Have been finding it difficult as suddenly this flow has become amplified to a degree I did not expect and in ways that are so unimaginable they disrupt established patterns. What’s even weirder to me is that the channels keep testing new and absurd ways to keep us engaged in the flow- red blinkering news updates, safety checkins, live streaming..

The events of the last year, or the last months, weeks, and days even mean that I may have bitten off more than my mouth can handle in this research. Am feeling a little stupid and torn between participating in the viewing of graphic content, often live streamed or posted immediately after a traumatic event (like the killing of Philando Castile or the attack in Nice yesterday, even the aftermath of the UK referendum) to better understand the context…

and the risk that by participating I am contributing to a problem. How productive are our current streams? How have the channels that have been created for us (social media, online news platforms) provide the tools to keep this information moving forward, towards progress, discovery and if not resolution just… something better. How can everyday citizens develop a better relationships, collaborations with technology or at least ones that that illuminate where we are failing rather than create comfortable outlets to cope with or avoid feeling like a failure.

Especially when we’ve gotten so good at articulating how larger systems like government are failing us.

As you already know, I strongly believe that these channels are capable of producing and distributing real emotion. I don’t think they make us passive or less engaged but wonder if they’ve been shaped to only make us engage in *a certain way*. This becomes super obvious when a digital platform like Pokemon Go appears and shows how ineffective other platforms have been at (or how little they want to be) a call to action.

I remember after the attacks in NY the media kept graphic content on air, basically on a loop, from what feels like the moment after the first plane hit for at least a week. I have always wondered why this was or the actual impact of these images on those of us living in NY on the years that followed.

Do you know what I mean? Not going to link to examples…

Sorry for this dark and tough beginning… sending love and support to you in France

Dear Cécile,

I’m super happy to start this conversation with you. How are you ? It’s almost weird to ask this question now in the turmoil of the world right now…

You’ve been super busy with the Berlin Biennale and your show at Barbara Seiler with Anna Rose Hopkins. I’d love to hear more about her, I’m very curious as I realized it’s the same person who wrote « Letter of Apology » which i have with me home!

Anyway, looking forward to hearing from you,


Welcome to Dear