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visual communication practice

French Lovers


Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

French Lovers is an email art project; a serie of three HTML/CSS codes which are meant to be inserted in the source code of an email sent to your lover.
– “The Langage of @” is an @ character inserted in a specific placement around the message of the email through a <div>. Each placement of the @ placement has a secret meaning shared by the two lovers.
– “Hidden Message” is a hidden text into the message appearing when the receiver lover is selecting the whole text of the email ; the hidden text is in fact stylized in white using a CSS class=“hidden”.
– “Folded Letter” is a giant blank space inserted between paragraphs of text using a customized <hr> in order to alter the temporality of reading with scrolling.
Since electronic messages replaced for a lot of lovers the physical interaction which was possible using paper letter, enveloppe and handwriting, there is a lack of possibilities to share personal feelings with your lover due to the HTML normalization of the messages.
French Lovers is an attempt to reintroduce a sensible temporality and intimacy to the reading by using cryptic code, hidden message and time through the immediate access to the content that email writing brought to love letters.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

The principle of this project is to be diffused and used in a viral intimate way between to lovers interacting with a certain distance which make their physical meeting temporary impossible.
It’s a poetic and cryptic way of bringing emotion or experience of reception which is not permitted by electronic message as it was previously possible using paper letters (adding for example perfume, using singular stamps, invisible ink, precious paper, special folding and handwriting).
The codes are inspired by The langage of stamps, and old way of bringing secret signification to a letter using the orientation of the stamp on the enveloppe, within a secret code share by sender and receiver. But it’s also inspired by other cryptic practices of writing like acronym (each first letter of a phrase making composing a word) or paper folding (which permit to implement various temporality and spaces for intimate expression).

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

The concrete benefit is the idea of resisting to the normalization that digital brought with our dailylife communication to our relatives. Also because a lot of our digital communication are now under surveillance, French Lovers is adding different levels of reception, which are far from the current urgent ones that we experiment in the numbered emails we are receiving everyday.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

French Lovers is a personal and duet answer to a distant miscommunication situation experienced by the two authors.
It brought us a way of keeping desire through common typing, re-introducing surprise and attempt in email.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

It’s a good communication work because it gives a power of expressing feelings directly in the manner of writing into a medium which we are obligated to use professionally, but which wasn’t conceived to integrate intimacy into it.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

We hope it will be used in a lot of personal inbox, and will give ideas to lovers to create more HTML/CSS cryptic codes.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

We guess unfortunately that it won’t change the media itself, because its use is first define by commercial/professional use, but at least it could change the way users figure writing emails.


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Entry details


French Lovers


HTML/CSS code for digital love letters

Concept author(s)

Emma Cozzani ; Mathieu Tremblin

Concept author year(s) of birth

1989 ; 1980

Concept author(s) contribution

Emma Cozzani (research and concept) ; Mathieu Tremblin (coding and concept)

Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory

web / interactive

Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

French Lovers is an email art project existing only through inbox of its lovers users.