MinXus Mail Bag: Cerealist Asemic Trashpo from Petrolpetal (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Mail-art by Petrolpetal (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

Petrolpetal is a talented, energetic South African mail-artist currently making a big splash in the Eternal Network. She lends credence to the nearly indisputable evidence accumulating over the past three years that South Africa has become a vital mail-art center producing innovative work. Petrolpetal, while highly original in her own right, is doing work in the same aesthetic realm as Cheryl Penn, Lesley Magwood-Fraser, Cuan Miles and others that we at MinXus-Lynxus have identified as the South African School of Subtle Aesthetic Obscurity.

Petrolpetal is, however, less obscure than her counterparts and more inclined to employ found materials and post-avant strategies. This fantastic work she sent is an ingeniously altered cereal box. The panels can be folded to create different variations on the core work, so there is an interactive element. Cerealism, the use of cereal boxes in mail-art, can be traced back to Ray Johnson; and of course, Cerealism is also considered a form of Trashpo. We are thrilled to share this wonderful piece and give it a home in the MinXus USA Archives. Here is the reverse side:

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Petrolpetal’s piece is a marvel of tonality using paint and complex stamp and stencil overlays. Here is a close-up of one section:

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Identifying the source of the gold image (for example it does bear a resemblance to an old cassette) is problematic but hardly necessary. On the cardboard it certainly has an asemic, cryptic quality. Petropetal has overlaid this on the cereal box text, so we have a visual-verbal construct, a complex integration of color, image, text, indecipherable symbols that work together with, in our estimation, pleasing results without the jarring qualities one finds in the anti-art strain of Trashpo.

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Many thanks to Petrolpetal for sending us this FAB work!

MinXus Mail Bag: Flux Score Kit from Sinclair Scripa (Ludlow, Vermont, USA)

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Mail-art by Sinclair Scripa (Ludlow, Vermont, USA)

Tenderfoots will doubtless recall that Sinclair Scripa made her Mink Ranch debut during the Who Has The Best Hair Contest. Since then, she sent us this fantastic Flux Score Kit.

We admit to admiring this correspondence very much because, in the spirit of Fluxus, this mail-art is interactive. Sinclair Scripa invites us to enter into the process of creating art; and most of the content of the envelope is material the recipient can use, ultimately, in any way s/he chooses. In fact, the exchange can be viewed as a performance, blurring many accepted distinctions. Here is the material Sinclair Scripa sent placed randomly on the scannerbed:

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Interestingly, we count only 12 scraps rather than the stated 13. When it comes to anything involving Ray Johnson and/or Fluxus, we are always careful to note the numerology. We also like Sinclair Scripa’s envelope:

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And the reverse:

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Deepest thanks to Sinclair Scripa for this FAB work. We needed some Fluxus ’round the ranch!

MinXus Mail Bag: Visual-textual work by Cristina Blank (Worthsee, Germany)

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Mail-art by Cristina Blank (Worthsee, Germany)

We are thrilled to share with Tenderfoots a second missive from Cristina Blank of the Five Blanks in Worthsee, Germany. The subject of the last correspondence was D-Kunst. This time Cristina sent a lovely visual-textual work that certainly has the characteristics of open field composition visual poetry. What we admire particularly about this work is her use of red and black to create tone and structure. Indeed, this seems to be another excellent example of the vispo noir and asemic noir we have identified in the Eternal Network. We are reminded that the great artist E – Ambassador of Utopia (Guivry, France) recently hosted a very successful red and black mail-art call. In terms of symbolism and metaphor, red and black together have a deep resonance, which adds further depth to Cristina Blank’s piece.

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Many thanks to Cristina Blank and the Five Blanks for staying in touch!

MinXus Mail Bag: FluxRus Mail-Art from Victoria Barvenko (Taganrog, Russia)

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Mail-art by Victoria Barvenko (Taganrog, Russia)

While belated, we have for some time wanted to share this wonderful mail-art from FluxRus friend Victoria Barvenko. We follow with great interest all the spectacular Fluxus and mail-art activity in Russia, which includes visual poetry. Victoria Barvenko’s vispo talents are revealed in these pieces.

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This piece – expressing hope for 2014 – makes masterful use of overstriking (found in concrete poetry) and a melding of letters, words and image.

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Deepest thanks to FluxRus friend Victoria Barvenko. We look forward to sharing more mail-art and participating in new projects.

Concerning the Mysterious Disappearance of Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

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Mail-art by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

First, our faithful correspondent, friend and Mink Ranch fav Richard Canard has not disappeared from the face of the earth like David Zack. Darest Richard continues to circulate his marvelous work throughout the Eternal Network, perhaps more than ever. He did, in the dead winter months, mysteriously disappear from the digital realm, sending messages to his friends that his computer imploded. After several months, he has not returned to the aether.

Tenderfoots are no doubt asking themselves: “Rancher, why does it matter whether or not Richard is plugged or unplugged? If he says his computer is broken, you should believe him. He still sends mail to the ranch on a regular basis after all.”

Well dearest Tenderfoots, we are naturally paranoid. The Neoist Conspiracy and T.O.X.I.S. have strengthened this tendency within us. Remember that Richard Canard is an original member of the New York Correspondance School, a network veteran of many decades, a representative of the Old School and a historic link to our shared past as well as an energetic participant in THIS, the New Order of things.

Many networkers ponder the relationship between the internet and snail mail. As the internet begins to lose its luster as a wide open frontier for free expression, you can bet your last silver dollar that some are wondering if it might be better to go off the grid and return to the more private medium of sealed envelopes as the sole means of communication and exchange. Reasons for this include surveillance (something that always makes avant artists nervous), censorship (Moan Lisa’s woes with Google and Facebook are a prime example) and an influx (can we be honest here Tenderfoots?) of cute postcard traders who have no clue or interest in what mail-art has been about for a half century. Here is a truth about mail-art you won’t see at the IUOMA: The original snail mail-art was egalitarian, anyone could participate; however, it was underground. You had to know someone to become part of it, which meant you weren’t just anyone after all. If you discovered it by accident, it meant you were looking for something you weren’t finding elsewhere; you found the place where you really belonged.

So we are interested to know where Richard Canard stands on this issue. MinXus-Lynxus is not going off the grid, but we’re always interested in current thinking. All we can really do is share some recent missives from Richard, and you’ll have to determine his current position. Here is the reverse side of the mail-art shown above:

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Richard Canard has been a wonderful and natural contributor to Trashpo and DKult. Since his digital disappearance, he sent us this interesting piece:

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And the reverse:

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We wrote a letter to Richard enquiring about the status of his computer and relaying some thoughts on minimalist poetry. This is the response we received:

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Richard Canard is a very fine visual poet, and we plan to post more of his work in this area. This particular piece appears to be a very clever erasure.

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As for Richard Canard’s position concerning digital vs. snail mail, we must consider the situation indeterminate. That should be no surprise. John Cage advanced the notion of the indeterminate aggressively, and Ray Johnson applied many of Cage’s ideas to mail-art including randomness principles and numerology as well as the indeterminate. So we are left with the question that began the post. “What was the question?” asked Gertrude Stein.

MinXus Mail Bag: An offer we can’t refuse from Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

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Mail-art by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

Tenderfoots were, no doubt, awed and gratified that our dear friend and faithful correspondent Rebecca Guyver swept top prizes in the MinXus-Lynxus Who Has The Best Hair Contest, even being named to the distinguished Order of the Tangerine Mink.

Despite all the effort she put into the contest, our Suffolk Poultry Princess has, as the saying goes, been burning the candle at both ends. Rebecca Guyver is curating a wonderful mail-art call: Monochrome-Semitone-Kodachrome. From all we can discern, she has received some spectacular submissions. So we are flattered that she has used this recent mail-art as an occasion to invite the humble Mink Ranch dwellers to contribute to her exhibition. How can we decline such an offer? Her invitation comes in the form of a mink bearing gifts (above), and Rebecca Guyver is a master of the rhetorical question in her mail-art. The reverse side is a display of her considerable artistic talent:

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We like this piece very much, referencing as it does the frame structure of film photography showing subtle color nuances ranging from black, white and grey to Rebecca’s Guyver’s signature pastel color tones. We must confess, using our more natural slangpo voice, that we haven’t completely been able to grasp this Monochrome-Semitone-Kodachrome thing; but that will not prevent us from rustling up something. After all, the Mink Ranch is only a stone’s throw from Rochester, NY (a kind of less glamorous sister city to Detroit these days), home of George Eastman and (the now bankrupt) Kodak; and we have a more than passing knowledge of Kodak and the various historical innovations made there.

So many thanks to Rebecca Guyver for this post-contest correspondence, and she will be receiving something soon for the show.

If you haven’t already, make sure to visit Rebecca’s Monochrome-Semitone-Kodachrome blog. If you haven’t already, you might consider sending her something. The call is open until June 2014:

http://monosemikodachrome.blogspot.co.uk/

MinXus Mail Bag: Bear sighting at the Mink Ranch by Coralette Damme (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA)

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Mail-art by Coralette Damme (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA)

We are thrilled to introduce Tenderfoots to Coralette Damme of Florida with this first Mink Ranch appearance. We are not strangers to various forms of wildlife but cannot recall any recent bear sightings. Fortunately, this bear is meant to bring us luck; and we are lucky indeed to have received it. In fact, we thank our lucky (red) stars! This is a slightly over-sized postcard format with a beautiful, textured print. A talisman for good luck is magical energy for the Eternal Network. We are honored to be the recipients and feel a positive boost as a result.

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We look forward to receiving more work and learning more about Coralette Damme. Adding a magical bear to the Mink Ranch menagerie seems, perhaps not logical, but fitting. We’ve become so accustomed to anti-art and abstraction that something that might be considered representational (even if expressionist) seems exotic and a breath of fresh air, as an occasional change of perspective can be quite liberating.

A visit to Coralette Damme’s website and blogs is likely to illuminating:

http://www.craftyhag.com/

 

 

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