The 10 Letters Project


8" × 10"

228-page coptic sewn book

in collaboration with: Adeline Ang
filed in: 2017 Print Books

The 10 Letters Project was a collaboration between my friend and designer, Adeline Ang, and myself. There are currently over 10,000 miles of distance between the two of us. Adeline and I first met during my study abroad program at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. We quickly became close and desired to keep in contact after the study abroad program ended.

I suggested communicating solely by physical mail for a short period of time. The first letter was sent on November 14th, 2016.

Cover of the book "The 10 Letters Project" by Jason Lin and Adeline Ang. The cover has many mailing stickers pasted on it including U.S.A. international stamps and customs declaration forms. The book is bound with a string closure.

10 rules were drafted to help guide the project. They are as follows:

RULE 1. We will each mail 5 letters total.

RULE 2. We will take turns sending letters. We may not send any additional material before receiving a response.

RULE 3. We must craft a response within 4 days upon opening a letter. Exceptions are made for emergencies and RULE 4.

RULE 4. The first and last letter are allowed as much time as needed.

RULE 5. In every letter, we are allowed to ask 2 questions. The sender of the 8th letter may ask 4 questions to allow for response.

RULE 6. We MUST answer the 2 designated questions completely and honestly.

RULE 7. We may NOT communicate with each other outside of the letters. Exceptions include dealing with technical issues, checking sent/received dates, and emergencies.

RULE 8. We may NOT use a computer to produce any part of the letter.

RULE 9. We will share the same writing space for each letter, but additional paper and materials can be added as needed.

RULE 10. Always include all previous responses when returning the letter.

The opening page to The 10 Letters Project. 10 rules are listed. On the inside front cover, is a map of the Pacific Ocean. New Zealand sits in the bottom left corner.
Letter 6 of 10 in the book. On the left-hand page, is a text detailing Jason and Adeline's thoughts. On the right-hand page, is a large sheet of paper with numerous handwritten notes on it.
An interior spread of the book "The 10 Letters Project." A postcard from a Cindy Sherman exhibit is painted over and written on with blue pen.
Letter 7 of 10 from The 10 Letters Project. On the left-hand page of the spread, is the number 7 and paragraph detailing the thoughts of the two artists. On the right-hand side is an image of the 7th letter which includes a long scroll-like paper.
An interior spread showcasing the ninth letter of The 10 Letters Project. Countless pieces of paper nad hand written notes are collaged like a quilt across the entire spread.

The most significant rule was that both artists were required to ask two questions per letter and answer each question with complete honesty. Though their communication was limited, this rule fostered an intimate space for the two to speak openly. Banal questions became more probing as the project progressed. Rambling letters about everyday life turned into lengthy expositions on personal feelings and relationships.

At the 10th and final letter, Adeline bound the entire 10 previous letters together as a book. There, the project ended. Each page of this final book was scanned and published into a new book: The 10 Letters Project.

Large white piece of paper with a long handwritten note against a plastic blue background.
a book made of many handwritten letters cut up and bounnd together. There are receipts, pieces of paper covered in paint, and an envelope.
small paper booklets with lots of handwritten text. One has a pressed flower in it.