MinXus Mail Bag: Striking Neoist stamps by Borderline Grafix (Austin, Texas, USA)

BG - Neo - 1

Mail-art by Borderline Grafix (Austin, Texas, USA)

Our Texas friend Borderline Grafix has graced MinXus-Lynxus with some very fine art during the previous months. His ability with stamps is becoming increasingly apparent to us as well as many others in the network. Yet nothing prepared us for the joy and excitement produced when we received this set of beautiful stamps dedicated to the classic Neoist multiple user identities first conceived decades ago and still widely used today: Luther Blissett, Monty Cantsin and Karen Eliot. We’re not familiar with Bob Jones. Given this involves Neoism, we’re reluctant to ask.

For Tenderfoots who have missed previous commentary on the subject, Neoism (all historical facts are shaky) was likely conceived circa the 1970s in the USA and blends elements of postmodernism and Fluxus, among other sources. The heyday of Neoism, which passed through several stages, was in the 1980s and 90s; it was a gigantic presence in the mail-art network, further fuelled by the zine revolution. Neoism touched the lives of thousands and thousands of people, perhaps even millions if the numbers could be tallied; yet due to its underground status, it remains virtually unknown in the mainstream.  (Several groups and individuals in the network identify themselves as Post-Neo.) The machinations of Neoism were overseen by a cabal known only as The 14 Secret Masters of the World. Even today, the identities of all the original 14 masters is not known for certain.

The Neoists were fascinated with the idea of identity and explored it on both theoretical and practical levels in the mail and through performance. Most sources are in agreement that David Zack conceived the “open pop star” concept. Soon came Monty Cantsin as the realization. Monty Cantsin was/is an imaginary pop star and anyone was/is free to become Monty Cantsin at any time. The idea was that numerous figures would contribute to establishing Cantsin as a cultural icon as well as enjoying the performance art aspects of being Monty Cantsin. Thereafter came the Karen Eliot multiple user identity, invented specifically to address a dearth of women in Neo. Luther Blissett, a European creation, is perhaps the most successful. A novel written collectively by Neoists and published under the name Luther Blissett became popular in Europe. Luther Blissett was briefly a literary celebrity until the hoax unravelled. Yet can it really be considered a hoax or a clever use of aliases?

Scan_Pic0089

We were also thrilled that Borderline Grafix used his official MinXus stamp on the envelope:

BG Neo - 3

Many thanks to Borderline Grafix. We look forward to a continuing correspondence.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: MinXus Mail Bag: DKULTX Research Issue by Borderline Grafix (Austin, Texas, USA) | MinXus-LynXus III

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