The Type Bar engages participants to create hand-typed letters to be mailed anywhere. The art service pairs volunteer typists with guests to listen and type letters for them. Deep storytelling often happens. Type Bar uses vintage manual typewriters, stationery, and postage.

The art of slow communication.

See event images here and here.

How does the Type Bar work?

A Type Bar ‘Speaker’ participant dictates a letter to a ‘Typist’ participant. Type Bar outside of normal experience because of the vintage tools used. A Speaker reflects as s/he composes a letter out loud. A Typist explores listening and the creative process by crafting and typing the letter. With no delete or cut-and-paste, the Speaker and Typist are faced with the permanence of their creation. Letters become unique art objects with clippings, quotes, and vintage postage. Type bar messages transcend time. Letters are mailed or hand-delivered to their recipients by the service.

The purpose of the Type Bar is to stop time and allow a participant to write a message that might not otherwise be communicated.

Type Bar Service

The Type Bar provides manual typewriters, vintage postage & stationery, letter enclosures, & extras

Participants volunteer as Speaker or Typist for the duration of at least one letter to a real recipient

Prompts, stage setting, or themes may be offered depending on the environment or venue

The Typist and Speaker craft the best message and format for the letter according to the story

Some Typists choose to read letters back to their Speakers before sealing and mailing

The Speaker then chooses a selection of vintage postage stamps from the Type Bar collection

Additional mail art, poetry, prints, or clippings make each message unique

The Type Bar collects and mails or hand delivers the letters.

Dictating a story can bring a participant out of their shell. Type Bar at MFA, Boston
Type Bar hosts author Richard Polt of The Typewriter Revolution, Barnes and Noble, Boston
The Type Bar Gentlemen of Chance 1%
Preparing Gentlemen of Chance art mass mailing
Type Bar at Honolulu Sharks and Ships
A Honolulu Type Bar at the Box Jelly, Honolulu, HI
Type Bar Hitomi and Matt
A Type Bar in Nikko, Tochigi, Japan
type bar exhibit future of western
Type Bar Mail Art
Type Bar from Above Universal Babel Service
A Honolulu Type Bar at Fresh, Honolulu, HI
type bar letter to friend at future of western
Type Bar Mail Art
Type Bar MFA, Boston
Type Bar Tokyo, 2019
Type Bar Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 2017

The Type Bar began in 2005 to explore slow communication and community storytelling. Arthur Grau (a.k.a. Circa) named and created the original “Universal Babel Service”. The Service, now named “Type Bar”,  has has typed letters for all people and purposes. Type Bar letters have  been used in: interactive art installations, mindfulness workshops, marketing campaigns, political rallies, fundraising appeals, literacy projects, elder engagement, and private parties. Type Bar enlivens the art of slow communication.