MinXus Mail Bag: More Asemics by Erica Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

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

Our wonderful correspondent Erica Durante continues to perfect her unique brand of asemics. We are thrilled that she is sharing the results with us and admire the color and spontaneity. The work is definitely akin to automatic writing.

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We also praise Erica Durante for her role as president of DKult New Jersey (DKULTJER). Thanks for the mail!


MinXus Mail Bag: Richard Canard Stickers by Jon Foster (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA)

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Mail art by Jon Foster (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA) and Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

If you are a mail artist, you probably know about Joel Cohen, the Sticker Dude. Step aside, Joel! A new player has taken up the sticky wicket.

Jon Foster has created and distributed stickers based on mail art by his friend, mentor and correspondent Richard Canard. We are not aware of any Richard C. correspondence ever being made into a sticker (Dicker sticker?) before this, although we could be wrong. We think the Richard C. style is a natural for this stuck-up medium. Jon Foster sent us a number of the stickers:

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And a close up:

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Jon Foster also sent memorabilia from his Tucker project:

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And the envelope:

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And the reverse:

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Many thanks! We are thrilled to hear from Jon Foster after a lengthy hiatus!


MinXus Mail Bag: Five Visual Poems by Jim Leftwich (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

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Mail art by Jim Leftwich (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

We are happy indeed to share with Tenderfoots a group of five visual poems received from Jim Leftwich. They tend toward the text-centric and are composed using a tape transfer technique. This method allows for image-text integration, overlaying, distortion and excellent textures. The pieces are taped on cards with a dimension of approximately 3 X 5 inches.

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Jim Leftwich uses appropriated materials in these visual poems. The tape transfer adds the element of chance operations to the process. The result is not unlike what is produced by the cut-up technique as practiced by Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs and Harold Norse. Both insights and radical dislocations can be experienced. With these pieces, Jim Leftwich is able to achieve stronger text-image synthesis than classic cut-ups that often focus on some degree of linearity and conventional “reading.”

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Detail of tape transfer vispo by Jim Leftwich

In the context of mail art, the use of comics makes a reference to popart and thus Ray Johnson, even if inadvertent. On another level, the pieces use the discourse of popular culture and textbook-like discourse. As a result, both standard discourse and logic are disrupted and interrogated. New symbols frequently emerge from the various decompositions of language.

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These pieces emphasize the materiality of language as well.

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Detail of vispo by Jim Leftwich

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All the pieces are signed:

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And the envelope:

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And the reverse:

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Many thanks to Jim Leftwich for sending us this great work!

MinXus Mail Bag: Trashpo & DKULTN Stamps + Vispo by Ruud Janssen, Breda, Netherlands)

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Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

Trashpoets, DKulters, Tenderfoots and other interested parties already know Ruud Janssen’s amazing stamps (above) are now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Congratulations to Ruud Janssen and all others who participate in IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists) and Trashpo. You are part of the historical record! We are absolutely thrilled to have received signed copies of the stamps for the MinXus archives.

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Also included in the missive was an original vispo cut-up:

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The envelope is in keeping with the stamp theme:

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And the reverse:

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Deepest thanks to Ruud Janssen!

Minxus Mail Bag: Visual Poetry by Tiffany Bahan (Urbana, Ohio, USA)

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

We were both surprised and excited to receive mail art from Tiffany Bahan in Ohio. We have not heard from her since last year. She sent us this FAB piece of visual poetry that fits in so well and in so many ways with the MinXus-Lynxus aesthetic.

Tiffany Bahan is a marvelously gifted collage artist. But when putting on our cool MinXus shades, we can only see this as vispo, whether she made it by accident or intention. (We suspect intention and very sharp intuitions.)

The piece is heavily text-centric using found material. Some asemic elements are present as well. The arrows, we believe, are the touch of brilliance. They make the piece a meditation upon linearity and non-linearity as well as conventional vs. non-conventional methods of “reading.” This is a very self-reflective piece that has an element of pomo. Wonderful.

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An envelope from the mink ranch is on its way to Tiffany. Her envelopes are the cat’s meow as well:

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And the reverse:

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Always a pleasure to receive mail from Tiffany Ms. Bahan!

MinXus Mail Bag: “Digital Asemics” by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

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Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

As his letter below explains, Ruud Janssen recently has had a very productive, creative phase. Many networkers are receiving some great mail as a result, including his renowned, hand-painted envelopes. We are fortunate indeed to be among the recipients. In the days ahead, we will share some incredible work from Ruud Janssen, interspersed with material from our other faithful correspondents.

This first posting is a Ruud Janssen foray into asemics. These days the asemic designation is hotly debated in some circles (and accepted wholeheartedly in others). The contention centers around not the quality of the work being produced under the asemic moniker but what to call it and how to view it. Designations include asemic writing, asemic art and pansemics. Some insist this kind of work is abstract art, calligraphy, automatic writing or visual poetry; leave the asemic or pansemic part out of it. At least some of the confusion is derived, we believe, from the fact that asemics bridge the boundaries between traditional literary and visual arts. Asemics are “intermedia” or at least conducive to that concept.

What we know is that we like this piece by Ruud Janssen very much. It is rooted in calligraphy. We accept the asemic concept as being theoretically sound and valid, so we believe this piece is asemic. Placing it in that context enhances interpretive possibilities. The piece is asemic in the sense that the cursive shapes suggest language but fall into the realm of the incomprehensible. The work cannot be “read” in the way we would read text; however, that does not negate the possibility that a viewer can find meaning.

A great deal of asemic writing is being produced by mail artists and circulated in the network. The IUOMA is one center of activity for this production. The IUOMA brand of asemics (because members tend to influence each other to a great degree) is  in actuality a visual poetry-asemic writing hybrid. This work Ruud Janssen sent is a very good example of the asemic-vispo hybrid, even though it retains his very recognizable style.

This work also has a logical place among the “mind maps” Ruud Janssen has been creating during the recent surge. These mind maps are meditations on mail art and its relation to art movements and technology. The ability of this work to communicate on a rhetorical level is based imagery (written text and computer components primarily) and thus the work has a correspondence to visual poetry as well as the asemic.

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This new wave from the Netherlands is being circulated in the beautiful hand-painted envelopes that already have a near-legendary status in the Eternal Network.

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And the reverse:

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Deepest thanks to Ruud Janseen. Stay tuned for more soon!


MinXus Mail Bag: Asemics by Terry Owenby (Portland, Oregon, USA)

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Mail art by Terry Owenby (Portland, Oregon, USA)

Tenderfoot Terry Owenby kindly sent us this beautiful postcard-size work. She has an ongoing interest in asemic writing and art. This piece, we believe, uses an unconstrained and highly expressive street art approach. The background, which has distressed tonal qualities, reveals the affinity between abstract art and asemics. The straight lines in the background form an interesting synthesis between the asemic calligraphy and the painting. We are thrilled to have this and think it is a beautiful piece. Anti-art scratches also have a correspondence to the writing. Terry Owenby included a very nice note with the work:

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Explanations such as this in mail art are appreciated but not necessary. Correspondence art is fun and rewarding, but it is also very demanding. The majority of participants take time off for varying durations and in various ways. Terry Owenby has, indeed, been a faithful member of the IOUMA asemic writing group and contributor to our humble blog. Keep in touch as well as you can, Terry. Many thanks!

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