This year, for the first time ever, Maastricht takes part in The Wrong, an international digital-art biennale, of which 4th edition takes place both online and offline, from 01/11/19 to 01/03/20.
letters from the south is conceived as a series of solo presentations, stretching over the Biennale’s duration.
We invited artists to contribute a work executed in any medium, as long as it is transmittable online. They will be distributed amongst visitors via e-mail. After subscribing on our home page, each visitor will receive a message containing an individual work or instructions on how to access it. The works will be launched at equal intervals, one by one, and will be available only for a limited time.
By choosing this diachronic mode of presentation, we want to experiment with the idea of an exhibition as a series of interactions unfolding over time. The exhibition's archive will become scattered amongst the inboxes of different visitors to our page, of whom many will have only a fragmentary image of the project.
The e-mail format is also a nod towards the tradition of mail art that created first pre-internet networks and enabled artistic exchange at a distance. At the same time, this format can be seen as a deliberately anachronistic gesture in the era of messaging apps, in which personal communication through electronic mail has become outdated and its place taken over by personalised marketing. This gesture, offering an illusion of intimacy, is not rid of nostalgia. But so is the entire framework of the project.
The Wrong seems to be in many ways a paradoxical endeavour; it presents itself as a global, deterritorialised biennale and yet chooses to perpetuate the idea of national pavilions. letters from the south attempts to find its position within – or perhaps just slightly outside of – this internally conflicted framework. We want to play with the idea of ‘locality’, without completely abandoning it. Where is the South, anyway? It becomes a kind of emblematic periphery, an imaginary frontier that gets pushed further away with the change of perspective.
Maastricht as a border town, which is peripheral and international at the same time, seems an interesting context for reflection on this friction of locality and globalism. Imagine the city as a spot mapped out by multiple intersecting lines, marking the trajectories of people from here, people still here, and those just passing through. And so, we decided to invite not only artists based in Maastricht, but also those whose paths crossed here at some point, and who still remain interconnected. It is this territorially unbounded dimension of locality that interests us the most.
letters from the south are: sara bachour, emile hermans, joep hinssen, and alicja melzacka.
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