The Type Bar is a moveable public art service begun in 2002. Participants engage in the simple activity of hand-typing a letter, but do so semi-publicly, out loud, and outside of regular time.
A Type Bar ‘Speaker’ participant dictates a letter to a ‘Typist’ participant. Using the medium of a typewriter provides an anachronistic, barrier-bending environment for both. The process of a Speaker telling their letter out loud provides an impromptu act of public performance. The art of assisting, editing, and typing allows the Typist to explore their listening process and the possibilities helping the Speaker work their thoughts. With no delete, or cut-and-paste, the Speaker and Typist are at every keystroke faced with the apparent permanence of their creation. The process also challenges participant assumptions about current rapid communication methods used on a daily basis and offers an alternate experience.
Once typed, letters are augmented by participants with clippings, quotes, mailable art by guest artists, and vintage postage. This completes the perception that the message transcends routine. Letters are then either mailed or hand delivered to their recipients.
With permission, letters and art are numbered, photographed and featured or quoted on the Type Bar blog. The final art product are the letters and photo documentation.
The purpose of the Type Bar is to allow for participants to share messages that may not otherwise be communicated. The activity often calls forth heartfelt or difficult messages from participants, while providing a creative and friendly space in which to share them. Recipients of Type Bar letters overwhelmingly value and cherish receiving these slow communications.
Type Bar Boston will provide at least four events in 2016 inviting local artists, writers and public to participate. We provide 3 to 12 manual typewriters, vintage postage & stationery, letter enclosures & extras, along with prompts or themes to inspire interaction.
Funded by Boston, MA (March 2016)