MinXus Mail Bag: Correspondence Art & the Art of Correspondence by Jude Weirmeir (San Diego, California, USA)

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Mail-art by Jude Weirmeir (San Diego, California, USA)

Discovering musician and zinester Jude Weirmeir was far more random than the usual process of meeting friends of friends via the Eternal Network and, very often, via IUOMA-Ning. Tenderfoots might recall Jude Weirmeir’s first appearance upon our humble blog:

https://minxuslynxus2.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/minxus-mail-bag-subscription-opus-issue-56-from-jude-weirmeir-san-diego-california-usa/

We enjoyed the piece very much and it was well received. We trade in what is sometimes called Correspondence Art. This thank you card Jude Weirmeir sent us is a reminder that written correspondence is a complex social function involving etiquette, manners, obligations and many other elements. This larger framework has applications in mail-art or correspondence art; it is connected to larger practicalities of maintaining and building relationships. As written communications via snail mail are becoming less and less the norm, the old conventions are fading. This could be positive, negative or meaningless, depending on your individual perspective.

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We must confess that we are touched that Jude Weirmeir actually took the time to send a thank you. This was, we protest, completely unnecessary. Jude’s gesture is deeply appreciated. The great thing about mail-art has always been the mutual support, the “rising tide raises all boats” spirit.

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MinXus Mail Bag: Drenched in David Stafford, But Seriously Folks… (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

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Mail-art by David Stafford (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

The inclusion of a pipe-bedecked David Stafford in the holiday card he sent us this year puts us in a mood for a bit of puffery as well as the obligatory, profuse and predictable gushing thanks you have come to expect at MinXus-LynXus.

Conservatively, the mail-art network has existed for 50 years. Anyone with a little knowledge of the history can usually cite someone else who already did it (and better) when something seemingly new appears. David Stafford might well be the exception. We venture to place him as a top satirist working in the network today and strikingly original with few to no precedents.

The envelope he sent contained two postcards, both variations on the Underwater Living Systems piece. Here is the reverse side of the opening scan:

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David Stafford is clearly a skilled graphic artist with a literary bent. This is a powerful combination. His satire can shift quickly from economic, social and political themes to culture and mail-art itself. Indeed, his success (including a small but rabidly supported fan club at the IUOMA), we believe, is due in part to his application of a critical eye to the current mail-art scene. Here is a panel from the second card:

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In these cards, David Stafford has managed to present a searing commentary on the commercialization of the holidays and the artificiality of bourgeois customs. His use of surrealism and the absurd are evident. For one thing, New Mexico is associated with the desert, not oceans. The commentary on the condominiums is extremely subtle and clever: “Underwater” is also a terms for real estate investments gone bad in the wake of the economic disaster that began in the USA in 2008.

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Many thanks to David Stafford for another outstanding year of mail art.

MinXus Mail Bag: A Cautionary Collage by Tiffany Bahan (Urbana, Ohio, USA)

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Mail-art by Tiffany Bahan (Urbana, Ohio, USA)

A nod, a big Mink Ranch “Howdy” and a secret MinXus handshake go out to Tiffany Bahan in Ohio for sending us this beautiful, postcard-size collage and for her first appearance upon our humble blog. She certainly brightens the beginning of what was a bleak, grey December day.

Behind this initial splash of brightness and joy, we detect some solid formalist construction giving energy and focus to the emotion as well as a FAB and skillful use of colour. Tiffany Bahan would not be the first to recognize and employ yellow caution tape for artistic purposes. Esteemed visual poet Geof Huth, for just one example, has done some interesting work with this material. In combination with comic book/cartoon exclamations, Tiffany Bahan has managed to create what we believe borders upon being an interesting visual poem. The language-centered nature of the collage is much appreciated.

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Deepest thanks to Tiffany Bahan for sending us this lovely work. We look forward to more exchanges in the future.

MinXus Mail Bag: We Dig “Excavations #1” – Svenja Wahl’s New Zine (Heidelberg, Germany)

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Cover of Excavations #1 featuring a collage by Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany)

Svenja Wahl’s Excavations zine produced considerable buzz in the Eternal Network even before the release of the first issue. The drama of the apparent loss of work by liketelevisionsnow (New Hampshire, USA) bound for Excavations in Heidelberg, Germany, intensified the drama and spawned an Excavations-related publication before anyone had glimpsed the zine itself. (liketelevisionsnow’s work ultimately arrived in Germany safely.)

The danger of this kind of hype is that it can raise expectations to unrealistic levels. Svenja Wahl is so respected for her art that these high expectations can be understood. As a result, she experienced some anxiety. Fortunately, dearest Tenderfoots, we are pleased to report that Excavations #1 exceeds our expectations; we are confident it will exceed yours as well. We consider zine culture to be one of our strongest areas of expertise. We testify with confidence Excavations #1 is tremendous.

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The list of contributors is impressive and includes different generations of networkers working in the avant, vispo and collage areas. They tend to be from Germany specifically and Europe generally. A geographic focus often emerges in this type of zine and provides a valuable view of trends concentrated in a particular part of the world. We applaud Svenja Wahl for dedicating the issue to the great Belgian writer and artist Guido Vermeulen (1954-2014).

In case it is difficult to read the scan, contributors to Excavations #1 are Patrizia PC(TICTAC) (Germany); Hanna Baier (Germany); Vittore Barone (aka Vittore Baroni) (Italy); Angela Behrendt (Germany); Eduardo Cardoso (Portugal); Giancarlo Da Lio (Italy); Thorsten Fuhrmann (Germany); Lisa Iversen (USA); Susanna Lakner (Germany); liketelevisionsnow (USA); Peter Muller (Germany); Jurgen Olbrich (Germany); Cheryl Penn (South Africa); Sabine Remy (Germany); Matthew Rose (France); Sandra Simone Schmidt (Germany); De Villo Sloan (USA); Tizianna Baracchi (Italy); Guido Vermeulen (Belgium); and Svenja Wahl.

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Page by Patrizia PC(TICTAC) (Starnberg, Germany) from Excavations #1

Excavations is an assembling zine. Each contributor mailed Svenja Wahl 22 pages (44 panels) of original work, and she assembled them into a zine and distributed them. Svenja Wahl placed the loose pages in handmade folios; the effect is somewhat like a Fluxus box. The pages are highly individualized, so it is very unlikely that any two zines are exactly the same.

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Page by Hannah Baier (Kassel, Germany)

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Page by Vittore Barone (aka Baroni) (Viareggio, Italy)

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Page by Vittore Barone (aka Baroni) (Viareggio, Italy)

Excavations #1 contains approximately 40 pages. We are including representative pages here rather than documenting the entire issue.

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Page in Excavations #1 by Eduardo Cardoso (Sines, Portugal)

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Page by Lisa Iversen aka Skybridge Studios (North Manchester, Indiana, USA)

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Page by Susanna Lakner (Stuttgart, Germany)

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Page by liketelevisionsnow (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA)

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Page by Cheryl Penn (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Page by Cheryl Penn (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Page by Cheryl Penn (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Page by Cheryl Penn (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Page by Sabine Remy (Dusseldorf, Germany)

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Page from Excavations #1 by Guido Vermeulen (Brussels, Belgium)

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Page by Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany) in Excavations #1

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Page by Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany) in Excavations #1

Whether Excavations only produces one or several issues or it becomes an institution, we are sure Excavations #1 will become a classic and it will be revisited again and again by many in the years ahead. We extend congratulations and thanks to Svenja Wahl and all the contributors. Excavations has a blog, so stay tuned:

http://excavations-mag.com/

The Making of the Official 2014 DKULTNY Holiday Card – Rejects

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Official 2014 DKULTNY Holiday Greetings Card

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MinXus Mail Bag: Excerpts from “code is poetry” by Moan Lisa (Iowa City, Iowa, USA)

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Mail-art by Moan Lisa (Iowa City, Iowa, USA)

Many thanks to Moan Lisa for sending a 13 page MS. of “code is poetry.” Today we will offer humble excerpts. Conceptual writing has been receiving a lot of attention these days. Online debates rage about whether it is over, barely begun or already defunct. We offer no opinions or thoughts on conceptual writing other than “code is poetry” is definitely an example.

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