Another MinXus Mail Bag Mystery: Mum’s the word

Figgy - 1

We are scratching our heads, a bit unsure if this lovely piece is by our dear friend and correspondent Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK) or her charming and, as we understand it, quite brilliant daughter, Figgy. In fact, we are not 100% sure if the Mink Ranch was the intended destination for this piece. Have we intercepted an appeal from RG to FG concerning an obsession with postal art?

We are reminded of a somewhat sobering quote written by Richard Canard: “Mail-art, by design, will ruin your life.” Good heavens! Could he have told us this several decades ago? If some sort of intervention is needed, MinXus-Lynxus will contribute any resources required to rescue Miss Becca, as we used to say, from whatever pickle she has gotten herself into. (It’s just that right now we’re kinda busy but wish her the best.)

Figgy - 2

Diligent sleuths that we are, we note the Edinburgh address is not the usual Nayland Farm address we expect from Miss Becca. Well, we did enjoy Trainspotting by Mr. Welsh but decided it might be best to postpone a visit indefinitely. We remember a Mr. John Brazenell – an acquaintance gained through Miss Weinstein whose “Cocks of the Laundromat” made such a splash… but, alas, no.  Nothing rings a bell.

“Fake” identities in mail-art remain of perennial interest to us, and we jot some random thoughts on the topic:

– Selecting a fake identity at the start is a good idea. You can reveal who you are later or create a new identity. Once you have revealed your identity, the cat, as they say, is out of the bag.

– Pseudonyms were commonplace in literature long before mail-art. What are some reasons authors choose to assume them? The answers likely apply to mail-art.

– The esteemed Blaster Al, as we always enjoy relating, had (at least) 18 different, established identities he used in the Eternal Network.

– Much of the historic mail-art we see was produced when the movement was an underground endeavour and the material distributed was far more subversive. Adopting another identity might have been done for more political or self-protective reasons.

– Creating a character for yourself is related to the performance art aspect of m-a. Some mail-artists become quasi-public figures, such as Cavellini, Anna Banana or Little Shiva (aka Trash Baby).

– Neoism transformed fake identities into anti-art theory & practice, constantly interrogating the notion of the individual artist identity (used to commodify art) and the authenticity of the work of art. Plagiarism was encouraged over actual creation. Multiple user identities such as Monty Cantsin and Karen Eliot were established. People were encouraged to use these identities when needed and then to discard them. The stated concept for doing this involved questioning and undermining the Western notion of the self and individualism. This collective identity idea seems to at least go back as far as DaDa. Obviously the Neoist influence persists.

So fake identities can be great, if, like anything else, they are used responsibly. (Do you know any avant garde artists to whom you could safely attach the term “responsible”?)

Anyhow, we hope some Tenderfoots might help us solve this MinXus Mail Bag Mystery,

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