In a certain sense the phrase “I am still alive” can never be sent as it cannot be received by the addressee instantaneously…It is only valid at the very instant that it is being written, and in the very next second it no longer is a certainty. If the addressee receives the telegram a few hours or days later and reads it, he merely knows that the sender was alive at the very instant the telegram was sent. But when he is reading the telegram, he is totally uncertain if the content of the text is still relevant or if it is still valid The difference, the small displacement between sending and receiving, is that particular unseizable glimpse of the presence of the artist. Likewise, it is a sentence of self-reassurance…”I am still alive.” The activity of telling oneself and the world “I am still alive.”
– On Kawara on his “I am still alive” correspondence
This work continued on as communication mediums changed –
The questions that arises between telegrams and tweets is how does this message differ when it is being sent to an individual versus being published to a public forum?
For a slightly fuller picture of On Kawara check out this blogpost.