Today we have a special member report on a postal project! Member Margaret L. is a wonder. She's been a guest on book club and is always sending along things to share with the community. Her most recent find is the Dream Delivery Service and her report follows:
Projects involving the mail are numerous, and the “Dream Delivery Service” combines surrealist poetry, dreams, and daily deliveries (through the mail or by bicycle). When I signed up to have my dreams delivered for November 2016, I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for, but I knew it would be exciting.
Mathias Svalina founded the Dream Delivery Service in 2014. For a month, Svalina writes about forty surrealist dreams during the day, and before dawn delivers them via bike for subscribers within 4 miles of his home base (in the case of Tucson, the Museum of Contemporary Art) or via the postal service if subscribers are outside his range. The “dreams”, short prose works in the second person (“you see…”, “you find…”), follow the surrealist logic you’d expect from a particularly vivid REM sleep cycle, where things happen suddenly and without obvious cause and effect. Moreover, Svalina doesn’t always keep copies of all of his work, adding an extra ephemeral element to the dreams he produces.
What I found fascinating about this work from a letter writing /postal project perspective was that the delivery (an envelope with a dream printed out on paper every day) was something physical and both deeply personal and impersonal. The mail, or even daily delivery on bicycle, is a mass endeavors where efficiency (forty dreams a day for a month is ~1,200 dreams!) is key for moving all of that physical material. At the same time, the dreams were written so well that they appeared deeply personal, though the only time I chatted in person with Svalina was after the talk he gave at the Museum of Contemporary Art as he launched the project in Tucson. The merging of the impersonal and personal brought the Dream Delivery Service thematically right into the same realm as using the postal service to make graphic art.
Svalina moves from city to city for each month of the Dream Delivery Service, and for the month of January (2/3 over!) he’s in Marfa, TX. He’ll be travelling to New Orleans and Chicago later this year, and you can follow his progress on his Tumblr: https://dreamdeliveryservice.tumblr.com
There’s also a great interview about his time in Tucson in November here: https://poetry.arizona.edu/blog/speedway-and-swan-episode-31-mathias-svalina