Note To Self:

London 2011

'Note To Self' invited the people of 2006 to address the them of 2011, to experiment with time travel and write a letter their future self... When the exhibition closed I kept all 170 letters, unread, in my studio. In 2011 all the letters were returned.




Note to Self:

g/39, Feb 2006


“Note To Self:” explored the possibility of time travel within ones own lifetime. Visitors to the gallery were invited to write a letter to the ‘them’ of 5 years time. The subject of the letter was open and letters will not be read by anyone other than the author. I imagined that people would either project onto their future self or reflect on their current situation. In January 2011 I will post all of the un- read letters back to the gallery visitor, who will, at once be catapulted back to the (most probably) rainy afternoon they spent at g/39 writing their letter. At the moment of reading their “note to self:” the author will be confronted by both their hopes and dreams of 2006 and the reality of their current situation. (Which I hope will far exceed their projection!)

This process, for me, raises questions about the unpredictability of life and also the possibly of loss, change of direction or the effect of chance or chaos on ones life. The fact that none of us really know which direction our lives will take.  At the same time we all, in some way, project onto the future, define and imagine the shape of our lives to come and in many ways those projections do shape our lives.

Even before writing the letter visitors had to work out where they would be living or where they would send the letter to. Do we assume we will be in the same house or hope that families or friends have a greater stability or perhaps we hope our lives will change and that we will be somewhere else. This commitment to writing an address is, for me, a profound statement about the direction of ones life.

Time travel occurs at two points in the process, however the second moment is probably the most moving. The moment of writing the letter invites people to imagine either what or who they will be or to record something of who they are now. At the point of receiving the letter I imagine there will be the sense of a collision of time, a sense of loss of the self  that we were and also the feeling of inhabiting that person for a moment. Of understanding who we were. In many ways this process is not dissimilar to photography, when one captures an image, in order to show the future self something of the present, however writing a letter  re-negotiates time differently to the image. It has many more layers and the lack of image creates a space to imagine being that person at that time, as opposed to seeing the picture of that person at that time.


Project © Jennie Savage 2005