MinXus Mail Bag: Classic Cerealism by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

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

With so many Trashpo innovations being reported and new controversies boiling over every day, Trashpoets seem to have forgotten (and newer participants might not ever have known about) Cerealism: A subgenre of Trashpo involving making vispo out of cereal boxes. Richard Canard is an acknowledged and indeed award-winning master of Cerealism. He went back to basics with this recent mailing and struck a home run for us here at the Mink Ranch.

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Artists outside the Trashpo community have experimented with cereal box art. Trashpo Cerealism is unique and focused because it is (1) a form of visual poetry and (2) created with the postal system in mind. Cerealism has another important connection to mail art that has not yet been confirmed with 100% assurance, but the information comes from a very reliable source. Karen Champlin (Chicago, Illinois, USA) related to us that Ray Johnson engaged in cereal box mailings. She reported that she had, in fact, engaged in cereal box exchanges with Ray Johnson. Again, Karen Champlin has been a reliable source of much information; and cereal boxes are ideal material for PopArt-related work. Certainly we accept Cerealism as a valid Trashpo practice, perhaps going back to the New York Correspondance School.

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Many thanks to Richard Canard for this wonderful example of Cerealism.

MinXus Mail Bag: Jerseymics (or Jerseymiotics) by Erica Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

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Mail art by Erica Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

Asemic writing: Everyone is doing it these days, or so it seems. And our faithful correspondent in New Jersey, Erica Durante, weighs in with what we take to be her take on asemics.

This piece makes it clear to us that asemics and automatic writing/drawing are closely related. The piece has a childlike quality, bolstered by the stars that might have been placed by a parent or teacher. (Possibly it’s Trashpo.) Is Erica Durante making wry commentary on the over-intellectualization of asemic writing? Is she showing us it is easy, and we should look to children for inspiration? We shall plead our own reading is indeterminate and inconclusive. Perhaps you have another understanding, dearest Tenderfoot.

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We are always thrilled to hear the news from Erica Durante. We offer congratulations as she continues in her superb role as President of DKULTJER: DKult New Jersey.

The DKult Brooklyn Trashpo Newsletter by Meeah Williams (Brooklyn, New York, USA)

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DKult Brooklyn Newsletter by Meeah Williams (Brooklyn, New York, USA)

(Images courtesy of Borderline Grafix)

We went to great lengths to obtain scans of the DKULTBRO Trashpo newsletter for our intrepid Tenderfoots. Our deepest thanks and appreciation go to Borderline Grafix (BG) of Austin, Texas, USA. BG is the only person we know who received a copy in the mail. He made the scans and posted them at IUOMA-Ning in the All Things Trashpo group. We appropriated them to share with anyone who does not visit the IUOMA site and is interested.

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The formation of DKULT Brooklyn has created some controversy among trashpoets, Dkulters and interested others. Still, we are not sure why so much secrecy is involved in the circulation of this newsletter.

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At MinXus-Lynxus you can always count on finding the whole truth and the whole story.

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This is undeniably work by Meeah Williams, in case anyone is unsure.

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A great page!

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Thanks again to Borderline Grafix, and although we believe in a unified New York under DKULTNY, we must congratulate Meeah Williams on a job well done.

MinXus Mail Bag: Exceptional Trashbook by FinnBadger (Columbus, Ohio, USA)

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Mail art (Trashbook cover) by FinnBadger (Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Perusing this absolutely extraordinary work we received from FinnBadger, we note that the creation of a trashbook is becoming a rite of passage for new mail artists who are establishing a personal network and exploring the various forms and modes available. FinnBadger tells us his trashbook includes work by Katerina Nikoltsou aka Momkat (Greece), Linda French (USA), Petrolpetal (South Africa), Minneapolis Gnome (USA), DKult aka Diane Keys (USA) and possibly others. We apologize in advance for the quality of the scans, which do not do just to this amazing piece.

Since the ascension of Trashpo a few years ago, we have received and documented many wonderful trashbooks. Some of the artists have gone on to become identified as trashpoets and DKulters. Others have gone in a different direction but seemed to have enjoyed the exercise. Most who take the trashbook challenge are interested in book arts, artists books and collaborative books.

Whatever the reasons for this extraordinary labor, we are thrilled that FinnBadger chose to share this trashbook with us. Not to brag, but we have received, documented and commented upon trashbook classics by Diane Keys, Cheryl Penn, Eduardo Cardoso, Nancy Bell Scott and others who pioneered the form. This work by FinnBadger stands easily and equally with the giants.

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FinnBadger’s trashbook is dense and complex. The stance overall is anti-art rather than the aesthetic wing of the genre. The piece is constructed with paper bags that contain loose items. Various folds produce sub-pages and conceal hidden compartments and images. Thus, documentation of all permutations and perspectives is nearly impossible. We can only offer a limited view.

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Here is a loose, found item from inside one of the bags:

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We are a little perplexed concerning right-side-up and forward and backward, but we shall proceed all the same:

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What is a trashbook without an homage to DK?

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More found material from one of the bags.

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Deepest thanks to FinnBadger for this amazing trashbook!

MinXus Mail Bag: Metasemics by Moan Lisa (Iowa City, Iowa, USA)

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

We have received two missives from Moan Lisa (aka Maria Morisot) directed toward our asemic subsidiary. Whether the work is asemic, about asemics or in actuality has no connection to asemics is a decision we will leave squarely with you, dearest Tenderfoots. We will not quibble with your choice. We will ask you, though, for a moment, to consider asemics.

We will tell you Moan Lisa was a member of the Martha Stuart School of Asemic Wallpaper. Moan Lisa engaged very actively in highly theoretical discussions concerning the nature of asemics. We will tell you we believe Moan Lisa (Maria Morisot) has highly complex theories concerning asemics that diverge considerably from mainstream Asemia or what we have named The Asemically Correct.

To go further would involve interpretation and even judgments involving Moan’s theories. We do not want to go that far. However, we will suggest that what Moan Lisa has so kindly sent us should, among other perspectives, be considered – even if briefly – as theoretical statements concerning asemic writing even if you do not view them as asemic writing proper. Thus, we can consider them metasemic: asemics about asemics. Then we consider what it is that Moan Lisa might be proposing, or not.

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The second envelope is even more compelling, we think:

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Many thanks to Moan Lisa/Maria Marisot for enriching the asemic conversation.

MinXus Mail Bag: Sinclair Scripa Goes from the SLA to the NLB (Ludlow, Vermont, USA)

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

M-L followers might recognize Tenderfoot Sinclair Scripa as a once bright-eyed, enthusiastic entrant in last year’s Who Has The Best Hair Contest.

In the meantime, life happened. We never believed (but might have been responsible for) the internet rumors that Sinclair is actually (1) Patty Hearst or (2) a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army or (3) Patty Hearst and a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

The rumors only compounded and became more complex when Facebook talk show host and former underground zine illustrator Larry Oberc claimed to have lived in an apartment where Sinclair/Patty/Tanya had been held hostage in a closet (or something).

For a time, we thought we were free of this quagmire and the stories had subsided, especially when Larry Oberc announced emphatically (and diverted attention away from the SLA) that the rock band Blind Faith was responsible for the rise of the Third Reich. That specific set of rumors concerning the SLA, indeed, does seem to have subsided, only to be replaced by an even more fearsome and worrisome acronym: NLB.

We wanted to believe that NLB – the Naughty List Bitches – had disbanded months ago. They were absolutely the worst band in history, and they only released 20 seconds of real music, which is probably a blessing. Otherwise, they were a hoax, a fake band. All this can be forgiven and overlooked. What cannot be overlooked or forgiven is that they were (and are) rude and truly mean-spirited people.

Now, it appears, they are back to torture us again.

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We like Sinclair Scripa. She has definitely gotten involved with the wrong people. She is never going to get paid. The NLB jackals will eventually discard her and leave her to rot somewhere. All we can say is: Get out and get out now, Tanya.

MinXus Mail Bag: Two Minimalist Texts by Thomas Brown (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

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Mail art by Thomas Brown (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

Thomas Brown sometimes aka Bhomas Trown tends to produce language-centered work involving puns, wordplay and jokes. Recently, his mail art has taken a minimalist turn; and we are thrilled to be able to share two examples. The work above, in fact, could easily qualify as minimalist concrete poetry.

The poem’s three words involve the possible combinations, re-combinations and repetitions of four letters, emphasizing the materiality of language and its mathematical nature. The interrogation of a single word to reveal other words and ideas is present, an approach often used in minimalist concrete poetry. Absence is a strong element in the piece; and other words, phrases, sentences (there is a period) are implied.

The poem uses as its foundation – “This is it.” – a commonplace, over-used and sometimes near meaningless expression. The wide-open pronouns that have the potential to be linked with innumerable nouns – sometimes with absurd results – add a strong element of the indeterminate. The poem then skillfully uses that surface as a gateway into a deeper exploration of language through associations, numerical combinations and wordplay.

What we admire most about this work is its adherence to minimalist containment. The various combinations of letters and words could be extended, making the piece longer, revealing more possibilities. But Thomas Brown allows (and trusts) his readers to fill in the gaps and thus participate in the construction of meaning. Here is the reverse side:

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Here is another piece recently received from Thomas Brown:

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While very different from the first piece, a similar principle of repetition is used.

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Many thanks to Thomas Brown!

And some minimalist poetry by Robert Creeley as a point of comparison:

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