Renowned conceptual artist and documentary filmmaker Lenka Clayton is presently trying to send a handmade letter to every household in the world.

Begun in March 2009, this "Mysterious Letters" project has so far sent letters to some people in Pittsburgh; Cologne, Germany; St. Gallen, Switzerland; and Cushendall, Ireland. No two letters are the same.

This compulsive streak is present elsewhere in the artist's work, both in a project where the artist tried to retrieve 7,000 stones from within a 3-mile radius for an exhibition and return them to their original spots afterwards and in a video project featuring couples announcing how long they have been together in descending order (from "77 years" to "maybe an hour.")

On Monday, March 27, will visit campus to attend art classes, critique student projects, and lecture on her work.

Alicia Eggert, assistant professor of art, met Clayton at one of her public lectures at Alfred University in New York, where Eggert completed her graduate studies. It was at this lecture that Clayton showed one of her most famous and controversial pieces: a 22-minute video of President George Bush's speech, "Axis of Evil" reformatted so that every word is presented in alphabetical order.

"By putting it in alphabetical order, we learn something about the speech we never would have the normal way, we realize how much he repeats certain words and how much his tone of voice can communicate in one word," Eggert said.

Clayton's work is both systematic and far-reaching.

Her "Age" video—made in conjunction with her "Love" video of couples stating the length of their relationships—depicts one person in each of year of life from one to 100 stating their age and hitting a drum. In this particular work, Clayton approached individuals from different cultures and backgrounds in an attempt to give witness to the universality of aging. It also occasionally takes on a comic tone and presents a variety of personalities. At certain ages, such as one and two, the individuals can barely speak or stand—let alone hit the drum—and at other ages, such as 15 or 16, individuals either scream their age or nonchalantly hit the drum as if to imply they are too cool to take part.

"We are all born, live,'s a fact, but by putting these people in order, it breaks it down into allowing us to see a person at each age and show us a different way of looking at the life cycle," Eggert said.

Eggert described Clayton's original methods in a compelling way, saying, "Just the way scientists look at something in a microscope to learn something knew about it or study things and categorize them in different ways, she applies similar systems to really much bigger, broader concepts."

Clayton's lecture will take place in the Beam Classroom of the Visual Arts Center on Tuesday, March 27 from 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The talk is free and open to the public.