MinXus Mail Bag: FAB Art & Post-Industrial Audio in the Network with allison anne (Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)

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Mail art by allison anne (Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)

Tenderfoots must surely recall allison anne’s stunning debut upon our humble pages not long ago:

https://minxuslynxus2.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/minxus-mail-bag-genesis-p-orridge-fan-club-with-allison-anne-raleigh-north-carolina-usa/

allison anne is proving to be a dedicated correspondent with exciting news and views. An added bonus is that we keep up with her art and music interests online as well. Her Dear Detective blog is a must-read-regularly:

http://www.deardetective.com/

allison anne has released some wonderful prints into the network recently, and we are so pleased she thought of us. In terms of her mail-art, allison anne is exploring the aesthetic potential of the postcard form. This piece also suggests she might find her way into other mail art genres, such as asemics. Time will tell. allison anne also included a kind note on the reverse side:

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Our introduction to allison anne ignited a Genesis P-Orridge revival here at the Mink Ranch. This time (see above) she sent us a tip about a book that we are going to investigate further: Unofficial Release: Self Released and Handmade Audio in Post-Industrial Society by Thomas Bey William Bailey.

Among other things, the book explores the synergy created when the mail art network was a conduit for new music and managed to change the world. Unofficial Release includes interviews with mail art luminaries Vittore Baroni (Italy), Rod Summers (Netherlands) and GX Jupitter-Larsen among others. Looks amazing!

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13742079-unofficial-release

And while we are at it, oh thirstful Tenderfoots, we want to make sure you know Cheryl Penn (South Africa) and none other than Rod Summers have collaborated on a book that sure looks swell:

http://cherylpenn.com/wpb/?p=4072

We can always count on allison anne for great art and ideas as well as interesting news – many thanks!

MinXus Mail Bag: Correspondence Art by Thomas Brown aka Bhomas Trown (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

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Mail art by Thomas Brown aka Bhomas Trown (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

A loud “Howdy” and secret MinXus handshake go out to Thomas Brown in Baltimore who sent us these two postcards in the last several weeks (at our urging).

Mail art by Thomas Brown is witty, ironic and – as these pieces indicate – often text centered. He does visual art as well but is essentially a correspondence artist in practice whose work reminds us of such luminaries as David Stafford (New Mexico, USA) and Richard Canard (Illinois, USA). That is not to say Thomas Brown is derivative; rather, he is aware of the possibilities and challenges of the postal form. The work is more mail art than art that is mailed, if you can see the distinction we are making. We greatly enjoy mail art surveys (such as the above), especially since they have the benefit of being interactive.

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The one-liner, whether a joke or poem, is a wonderful form to explore and to incorporate into mail art. We like this one a great deal.

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Deepest thanks to Thomas Brown. More of his work can be viewed by following this link:

http://brownmegacorporation.tumblr.com/archive

MinXus Mail Bag: Trashemics by Diane Keys + D-Kollabs with Tomoe Nakamura & Egg Tooth

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

While Diane Keys is best known as the Queen of Trash and DKult’s psychic leader, she is a talented and recognized asemic writer and visual poet as well. This most recent mailing from Elgin features new asemic vispo accompanied by collabs with Tomoe Nakamura and the enigmatic Egg Tooth.

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Diane Keys is a graduate of the Martha Stuart School of Asemic Wallpaper, and these recent pieces display an asemic style that earned her accolades and attention during the school’s heyday several years ago. At that time, Diane Keys was baking her book pages in an oven to achieve a rainy, impressionist effect. We doubt the piece above is “cooked,” but it does reveal the watery effect that is her asemic trademark and renders the text unintelligible in any conventional sense.

Here are the collabs. These appear to have been copied, and other parts of the series can be found online:

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Mail art collaborations by Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA), Tomoe Nakamura (Osaka, Japan) and Egg Tooth

These show the DK preoccupation with both found material and doodling. Diane Keys’ current position is that asemic writing is a form of doodling. We are very pleased to receive the collab with Japanese artist Tomoe Nakamura:

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Mail art collaboration by Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) and Tomoe Nakamura (Osaka, Japan)

Here is the reverse side with more collabs:

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Here is a close up:

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Collab by Diane Keys and Egg Tooth

We do not know much about the artist Egg Tooth, other than s/he has a collaborative relationship with DK that is producing some spectacular results. Some of the usual DKult propaganda was included:

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Note the asemic wallpaper reference. Here is the reverse side:

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And the envelope:

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Many thanks to DK, Egg Tooth and Tomoe!

MinXus Mail Bag: “diode dance” by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

Ruud - 3.28.2015 - 1 Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

Part II

We are thrilled to present a new installment of a three-part blog series featuring new work released in early 2015 by artist, mail art scholar/historian and IUOMA founder Ruud Janssen.  The envelopes for these mailings have been especially powerful (and Ruud Janssen is already renowned in the Eternal Network for his envelope art). Others in this series and related items can be found documented online elsewhere too. The envelope (above) announces a consistent theme that runs through these recent mailings: technology, humanity, and the future. The related topic of digital vs. hard copy communication and the future has a very specific relevance to mail artists and is likely to generate heated discussions among the artists whenever the subject is raised.

Note that Ruud Janssen’s envelope also includes an IUOMA-5089 stamp, marking participation in Moan Lisa’s (Iowa, USA) Post Mail Art Movement:

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Moan Lisa is incredibly prolific, circulating large amounts of work through the postal system and via the digital realm. While not clearly defined to our knowledge, the Post Mail Art Movement seems to suggest a new order for correspondence art and the network integrating snail mail and the digital realm. Perhaps it is an extension of Dick Higgins’ Intermedia concept.

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The contents of the envelope continue and extends the technology, humanity and the future theme with another poster-size print of Ruud Janssen’s recent work using computer technology motifs. This one is entitled “diode dance.” Text is freely integrated with the visual arts elements reminiscent of Ben Vautier’s celebrated communications. As in Part I, the scale of the print could not be captured by my printer, so I had to copy it in two pieces, which does not do much for continuity:

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In response to Ruud Janssen’s question: Blogging and maintaining an online presence (aka screwing around with friends on the internet) does indeed consume much of the limited time we can commit to mail art. We have made our view on the digital vs. snail mail dichotomy clear in a number of venues, a subject that can send some individuals into convulsions.

First, we refer to a statement Ray Johnson made in an interview with John Held Jr. in the 1970s. Ray Johnson said: “Mail-art is not about the postal system.” We take this to mean mail-art is about a network of like-minded people exchanging ideas and art not about preserving and worshipping any particular conduit of communication, such as the postal system. We believe mail art today is a hybrid activity involving both online activity and use of the postal system. (Other networking activities might include phone calls and meet-ups.) We encourage this hybrid strategy.

But we do not advocate abandoning the postal system altogether or discontinuing hard copy archives. For us, mail art does not simply become email art. We have had interesting, back channel discussions with a number of veteran mail artists who are very concerned that the potential for artistic freedom that the internet once promised is fading and could well disappear as we now know it. The more paranoid recommend keeping hard copies of everything as those who rely on data storage solely could awaken one day to find all their holdings have simply vanished. Thus, contemporary mail art involves participation in several different paths of communication and storage simultaneously. Adaptability and flexibility are essential.

We admire the romantic notion of mail artists who have gone “off the grid” and only communicate with a closed network “on the ground.” This has the underground feel of the old network, the outlaw appeal. In reality, and we can think of a few artists we admire who have unplugged, this approach is limiting and excludes the artist from many opportunities for innovation.

What we fear most is a notion of mail art that makes a fetish of the mailbox, worship of an obsolete or dying technology. Luddite is the worst possible expression to describe this tendency. This viewpoint could make mail art the kind of activity that involves dressing up in costumes and pretending to live in the past (usually a past that never really existed). This is akin to people who travel on weekends to parks where there are log huts and – in costume – they do demonstrate things like how to make candles or clip goats, whatever. Something like that is cool and maybe useful, but it doesn’t capture the spirit of mail art. Mail art should not be about recreating an activity that most people do not do any more. Mail art has always been about blazing new trails.

We are not too concerned about mail art changing, and it is. We would be more concerned if it were not changing or, in a sense, moving backward, drawing within itself. Any vital and dynamic cultural practice evolves, experiences disruptions and displays continuities. Mail art appears healthy precisely because it is changing and, we believe, adapting.

So that is our response to Ruud Janssen’s interesting question. Here is another view of “diode dance”:

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“diode dance” – image courtesy of Ruud Janssen

Many thanks to Ruud Janssen for this wonderful work, and stay tuned for Part III.

MinXus Mail Bag: Postcard from Jay Block (Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA)

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Mail art by Jay Block (Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA)

We are always pleased to receive mail from Jay Block. Most of his work uses the postcard as a form. We always find him doing something interesting, pushing the limitations of the form and exploring the possibilities.

In contemporary mail-art (Mail Art NouveauX), the postcard – based on our subjective observations, of course – is the medium of choice. (Some of the newer folks, indeed, might have no idea anything else was ever used.) Perhaps the idea of choice should be qualified. Resorting to postcards is likely the result of exorbitant postal rates as well as an aesthetic decision.

We do find that the artists working regularly with postcards – such as Jay Block and Richard Canard – and who bring discipline and thoughtfulness to the effort produce varied and pleasing results. The postcard format can lead to monotony and repetition. Given letter writing is fading as a practice even in mail-art circles and the dominance of collage, we need postcard innovators as well. Jay Block, we think, is certainly someone to watch.

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Many thanks to Jay Block for always being so kind to remember us here at the Mink Ranch.

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Releases Rare SMILE Zine Material

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Vintage tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

The current Neoism revival is generating related interest in SMILE: a premier zine from the Age of Zines closely aligned with the international Neoist effort that had a nascence in the 1980s and into the 90s.

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has launched a website – a fascinating extension of his voluminous documentation and commentary on Neoism – focusing specifically on the SMILE phenom, and – very important – variants and sources that contributed to SMILE. The names and exploits of those associated with various permutations of SMILE chronicle an era.

Given the de-centered and collaborative nature of the SMILE publishing model, a complete history of the zine is likely to take some time and will require a collaborative effort involving many individuals. This gargantuan effort by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, by no means complete, is an invaluable contribution to the historicization of a cultural impulse notoriously resistant to conventional analysis and documentation.

The fact that tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE was a witness to and sometimes central player in both Neoism and aspects of SMILE also make this specific archival project unique and absorbing. Obviously multi-talented, tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE is a gifted writer. His commentary and descriptions of SMILE are as engaging as the rare images that can be found on the site. This is a project worth exploring and following as it evolves.

Here is the link to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE’s SMILE site:

http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/SMILEs.html

Thanks to Borderline Grafix in Texas, MinXus-Lynxus has done several SMILE postings in the past:

https://minxuslynxus2.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/minxus-mail-bag-snarl-aka-smile-zine-1988-w-karen-eliot-interview-from-borderline-grafix-austin-texas-usa/

https://minxuslynxus2.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/minxus-mail-bag-issue-of-smile-zine-by-karen-eliot-1988-from-borderline-grafix-austin-texas-usa/

MinXus Mail Bag: Encore by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

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Mail art by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

Our last post of work by Rebecca Guyver featured her doodle collabs with Queen of Trash Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA).

https://minxuslynxus2.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/minxus-mail-bags-doodle-collabs-by-rebecca-guyver-suffolk-uk-and-diane-keys-elgin-illinois-usa/

That package, however, was characteristically brimming with new work by our dear Le Becca, and we are thrilled to showcase the remainder of it here. The work above is very impressive and has asemic elements. Here is the reverse side:

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Some Gutai action has enhanced this piece (the white flecks). Rebecca Guyver’s work is worthy of the Correspondence Art designation. By either habit or design, perhaps both, she employs the charming conventions of letter writing that are rapidly fading in the world, which establish an intimacy and continuity, among other things.

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A beautiful handmade envelope was enclosed inside the larger mailing. Within this envelope was a letter. Recently we have seen several instances of envelopes inside envelopes.

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We will not display the content of the letter itself, as it is a somewhat personal narrative concerning DKULTUK events.

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Here at the Mink Ranch, we always are excited by packages received from Rebecca Guyver. This recent material with DK doodle collabs, splendid correspondence and art has brightened several, dark winter days.

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