Letters 2004-2006: Confirmation That You Still Exist; I Respect Your Authority; When Will It End; One London by Martin John Callanan (London, Book Works, 2007, Â£7.50 paper) is an exploration of apparatuses of power. Callanan is a mass letter writer. Each letter poses a deceptively simple question or even inane rhetorical statement and the collected responses reveal the absurdity of bureaucracy and the egos of those that claim power.
Collected here are responses to a series of letters mailed between 2005-06, ranging from the bemused response of the Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury to the question â€œWhen will it end?â€ to appreciative letters from the offices of President Mubarak of Egypt in response to the declaration â€œI respect your authority.â€ I am reminded of Jeffrey Vallanceâ€™s letters to heads of state asking them for a tie (a menâ€™s tie, of course) and the various responses. Epistolary art in the form of mail is an age-old techniqueâ€“and this one involves politics as well. (Book Worksâ€™ Chap Book Series,no 8) The design of the â€œportfolioâ€ containing the letters, as well as a list of all those contacted for each subject is beautifully conceived.