MinXus Mail Bag: “Prisoner of T.O.X.I.S.” by Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

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Mail-art by Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

In September what proved to be a brief and uneventful hiatus from online activity and the network by DVS prompted the Queen of Trash to unleash a DKult dragnet, as she seems to have been convinced of a new and sinister T.O.X.I.S. conspiracy. While concerns were unfounded, it produced some D-Klassic mail-art:

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The irony is that DVS has made so many public allegations about others being held hostage and re-programmed for obscure plots in a fabled “Mexican clinic” that, depending on which version of the story you encounter, is run by T.O.X.I.S., Neoists or both. In addition to these two remarkable, approximately 8.5 x 11 inch panels above, the envelope contained a generous sampling of authentic trash from Elgin, the dream of many a Kulter:

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And even more presented to you here as a spontaneous scannerbed composition:

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All this came in a wonderfully decorated envelope:

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The reverse:

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Many thanks to DK for the concern. Will the complete truth of what happened during those weeks in September 2014 eventually be revealed? Perhaps. Perhaps there is little to report that would not be mundane or boring. Or perhaps, for now: “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth” because “The truth is ‘out there.'”

New DKULTNY promo-prop (promotional propaganda): “DKult – It’s the new scientology.”

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MinXus Mail Bag: Otherstream by Keith S. Chambers (Amalgamated Confusion) (Anaheim, California, USA)

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Mail-art by Keith S. Chambers (Anaheim, California, USA)

Keith S. Chambers has recently been circulating some very interesting and engaging, text-centered correspondence. We are very happy to share a piece he sent us that we have not seen elsewhere. An IUOMA discussion arose about Keith S. Chamber’s recent missives, and we proposed these pieces emerge from the Otherstream (or show that influence anyway): A term popularized by Bob Grumman (Florida, USA) to describe a kind of experimental writing associated with the Eternal Network, Otherstream, of course, varies from author to author but it seems grounded in DaDa and has also acquired through the passage of time elements of surrealism, pomo, Fluxus and many other avant ties. Otherstream is rife with irony, absurdism and humor; historically, it has run concurrent with L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E but does not adhere to that group’s theories or methodologies. Many mail-artists, often without even knowing it, drift into Otherstream discourse due to its prevalence in the network. Ray Johnson’s writing has also likely had a large influence.

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Many thanks to Keith S. Chambers!

Recombinant vispo: Variations on Cheryl Penn’s “Babel” by Ficus strangulensis

Visual poet Ficus strangulensis (West Virginia, USA) has been experimenting with fractals and digital vispo, sharing the results at the IUOMA. Recently his work with material from Cheryl Penn’s (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa) book Babel (Tonerworks 2013) caught our attention. Due to the organic-structural nature of these explorations, this might be called recombinant vispo; asemics are present as well. We believe the thoughtful exploration of Cheryl Penn’s work by Ficus with software opens interesting possibilities for concrete and visual poetry.

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Much of the work in Babel is text-based with strong visual art elements. Recombination into essentially geometric structures creates an interesting evolution of classic concrete poetry.

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Ficus strangulensis variations on vispo by Cheryl Penn.

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More info on Babel:

http://cherylpenn.com/wpb/?p=2468

(Deepest thanks to Ficus strangulensis for granting permission to repost these images.)

The Lomholt Mail Art Archive: A FAB resource

Thanks to Sinclair Scripa, we have discovered the Lomholt Mail Art Archive, which presents a spectacular collection of material, mostly from the 1970s and 80s. This is an incredible snapshot in time of a particularly exciting era in mail-art history (actually several eras and a number of different networks).

http://www.lomholtmailartarchive.dk/

The Correspondence A-Z section has a fantastic holding of works by Crozier, Ackerman, Zack, Kantor and associated artists. Work by David Zack is not easy to find, and the Lomholt archive gives tremendous insight into the early days of Neoism, even if work by Ray Johnson and his circle and Fluxus are lacking.

The Mail Art Network section is even more impressive, delving back further into the 70s and presenting scans of entire books and zines. Some great work by John M. Bennett is in there. Generationally, collective network memory does not go much further back than the 80s these days. Anyone who has dug into collections knows the 70s (and 60s for that matter) were fascinating times as well. The network’s connection to “serious” conceptual art and experimental writing as well as intellectual currents and theory (such as semiotics) are apparent in the Lomholt archive.

We think it is well worth spending some time there and rediscovering what others have done.

MinXus Mail Bag: Gina Ulgen – More than a Trashpoet (Norwich, Norfolk, UK)

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Mail-art by Gina Ulgen (Norwich, Norfolk, UK)

In her first mail-art exchange with us, Gina Ulgen distinguished herself in the found art realm of Trashpo. Subsequently, she was linked to the activities of UK trashpoets (DKULTUK) and contributed to as well as benefitted from some phenom recognition they received a few months back. Yet Gina Ulgen has also established herself outside the Trashpack. We do not believe there is any danger of “type casting” in her case.

We are thrilled to have received this second missive from Gina Ulgen – an incredibly thoughtful gift – which reveals her larger collage talents. This original work is mounted on sturdy cardboard and at approximately 7 x 9.5 inches carries some power in terms of scale as well (for mail-art). The piece was carefully sealed in cellophane.

If Trashpo practice can be illuminated by establishing DaDa roots, we will offer – in terms of context – that Gina Ulgen’s wonderful collage work (here as well with other examples) is driven by the psychological underpinnings of surrealism. Here are some more scans from this mailing:

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We have Gina Ulgen’s signature from the reverse side of the collage and a card (above) that echoes the basic structure and concept of the larger collage:

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We think Gina Ulgen is acknowledging the indeterminate nature of her work: The fact that it is particularly open to multiple (but equally valid) interpretations. Some artists, indeed, might have no conscious intention in creating a piece other than engaging in the process and materiality of art; that is as valid as entering with a very specific intention of guiding the receiver to only one possible interpretation (which rarely, if ever, happens in actuality).

In terms of offering an interpretation for this collage, we think it can viewed as a piece about surfaces: the surface of a piece of visual art or the surface of a text. The collage is dominated by the interesting, Rorschach-like inkblot, which provides a surface and implies abstraction. The blot is both porous yet has the solidity of a wall; it is fractured. The man entering the pipe (or tunnel) violates, fractures, the illusory surface of the collage, suggesting the artificial nature of surfaces in art, illusions that obscure rather than reveal the real and the true. This, as many might discern, is actually a pomo (postmodern) reading of Gina Ulgen’s collage; her work has a strong self-reflective element. Surrealism and postmodernism, essentially different, can easily be confused. Gina Ulgen could very well have a pomo sensibility, although – as we once recommended concerning Cheryl Penn – the best path to understanding is likely through the psycho-analytic.

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In which we humbly accept a Museum of Bad Mail-Art (MOBMA) Award for Bad Romance in the Form of Altered Crumpled Trash by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

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Front cover (canvas) of trashbook by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

During our brief hiatus from the aether in September, Miss Becca was kind enough to present us via snail mail with a Bad Romance Award from the Museum of Bad Mail-Art (MOBMA). The MOBMA is another venture established by Queen of Trash Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) and has headquarters at IUOMA. We are a little fuzzy on the facts, but we think we recall that Bad Romance was a MOBMA mail-art call or contest. At some point, we recall being vocal about MinXus-Lynxus and the Mink Ranch being synonymous with bad romance. Miss Becca agreed and gave us the award,although we made no submissions, which is the kind of conceptual art we like:

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We are thrill with the award and certain we earned it; however, we are giving it so much space because we believe the accompanying trashbook is a masterpiece. With covers, Miss Becca’s trashbook has a total of 20 pages, and we provide liberal excerpts in this humble blog. The book’s dimension’s are approximately 2 x 3 inches.

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We believe Miss Becca has created some phenomenal effects in this book, including often muted colors and weathered textures using, essentially, pop-art content. Overall, a consistent distortion is achieved.

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And a close-up:

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Rebecca Guyver has invented various “secret sauces” for processing trash and creating Trashpo effects; she has been honored with the TrashPo Litzer Prize for these innovations. “Altered Crumpled Trash” is yet another breakthrough.

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On the right (above) is the inside, canvas back cover. Then the gorgeous back cover:

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And the envelope:

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We are thrilled about the award, especially because it inspired this wonderful trashbook. Deepest thanks, as ever, to Rebecca Guyver.

MinXus Mail Bag: Altered book pages by Moan Lisa (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)

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Mail-art by Moan Lisa (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)

We are seeing some FAB altered book pages in the Eternal Network these days, and hyper-prolific Moan Lisa sent us some creations to add to the MinXus USA Archives here atop the scenic Overlook Hotel, which is approaching winter mode with a burst of preparation.

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The Hans Arp backdrop adds self-reflectivity to Moan Lisa’s otherwise pure Dadaism.

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Any communication from Moan Lisa (and we can never keep ahead of this part of the collection) is a snapshot in time only. Moan Lisa is, at least in one sense, not so much a fixed identity as a trajectory that often appears to be a blur of movement. Put another way, Moan Lisa is always changing; moanlisa.org, as far as we know, is still relevant. Check it now, if you have not already.

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Thank you for all the great work, Moan. We are thrilled to receive it and do our best to share with Tenderfoots.

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