Dear Aisha, Volume 1. Can i have a minute of your time
A small, thin textbook with a beige hardcover by the US artist Daniel Bejar on the subject of identity theft and phishing emails sets up a design game with various traps. It is hard to categorise at first glance, appearing most to resemble an epistolary novel; a calligraphic script even evokes love letters. However, the text reveals itself to be an exchange of emails between the artist and unknown fraudsters seeking help in accessing a bank account supposedly hiding a million dollars in the name of Aisha Gaddafi, daughter of the Libyan leader who was killed in 2011. The artist reacts by posing as Saadi Gaddafi, a brother of Aisha’s, who allegedly attempted to enter Mexico in 2011 under the name of Daniel Bejar, in a case of identity theft unmasked by the Mexican authorities. The absurd email correspondence plays out over 150 pages with large areas of white, and is interrupted only by small slips of paper bearing colourful fake online ads inserted between the pages. Like unwanted pop-ups, they demand direct interaction: should you put them back in the book or throw them away? In most cases, using inlays of this kind as design elements can seem rather forced, but here they are in tune with the topic and also underscore the book’s humorous approach. The design achieves its goal through a small number of precise decisions.