Letters 2004-2006: book review

ram books

A review from RAM Publications, N.American distributors for my book:

Martin John Callanan’s brilliant new book is a stroll down Albert Camus Lane for this artist whose work has consistently explored the clash between the fact of human existence and governments with digital databases which could delete anyone with a single keystroke. Any member of modern society can identify with Callanan’s letters to government authorities, in which he essentially – and subversively – challenges their right to define if he exists according to their records. Each letter poses a deceptively simple question or even inane rhetorical statement and the collected responses (from eminences ranging from the secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury to the offices of President Mubarak of Egypt) reveal the absurdity of bureaucracy and the egos of those that claim power. A wonderful exploration from the London-based artist; one of his best-known projects transmits the phrase “I am Still Alive” to available cell phones, laptops and PDAs in a given area, a poignant plea for recognition from cyberspace.