A public letter writer was an occupation in a time where literacy rates were low. In Greece, reading or writing were roles taken on by the priest. In Singapore, customers included illiterate migrants. Sometimes, requests extended to couplets or wedding invitations. In Vietnam, the last public writer Mr. Duong Van Ngo, wrote in Vietnamese, French and English. Jagdish Sharma, the last letter writer in India said, “I would hear their stories and then summarise it and write it in my own nice words.”
With increased literacy and assistive technology, much has been lost (and gained) with the letter writer of the past. Yet, the objectives remain the same: our expression, and accurate interpretation by the recipient. What do we want to express? How will it be decoded?
In the project Dear Dearest…, the customer can summarise and dictate the content, or request for personalised letters. Examining trust, communication and intimacy, Dear Dearest…also seeks to explore the relationship between the audience, taking on the role of the customer, and the Public Letter Writer.
Appointments for a letter and the writer can be made here: https://forms.gle/3XghLHsRuovqogyXA