MinXus Mail Bag: Collaborative DKult Narrative by res and Tammy Riggins (Clarksville, Tennessee, USA)

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Mail art by res including stamp by Tammy Riggins (Clarksville, Tennessee, USA)

“Trashpo has no future, only a present.”

– Diane Keys

Of course the reigning Queen of Trash Diane Keys never said that; it is a reworking of a quote appropriated from Ray Johnson and altered. The fraudulent quote is, however, an authentic example of the “collaborative narrative” that drives DKult as a mail art activity.

res, a gifted network newcomer who seeks to stay under the radar on the internet (thus the lack of personal info), took to the DKult collective narrative like, as they say, a duck to water with this wonderful, large collage she sent us. In a kind note she informed us: “The center bunny stamp is by Tammy Riggins. She gave me permission to reuse it.” So both res and Tammy Riggins have contributed to the lore of DKult. We want to take this opportunity to extend a biggy “Howdy” and a secret MinXus handshake to both res and Tammy who make on this eventful day their first appearance upon our humble blog.

We are always thrilled to have new artists who are not “insiders” contribute to the DKult narrative. Trashpo is a form of visual poetry made with found material. That requires little explanation and anyone can do it. DKult, we gather, is more mystifying to the uninitiated. Really, it is the equivalent of one of the many mail art fan clubs built around people, objects, activities, etc. For instance, the IUOMA has a Richard Canard Fan Club as well as a Moan Lisa Fan Club. We might have called it the DKFC (Diane Keys Fan Club) only it would be associated with fried chicken and The Colonel (just joking).

DKult differs from a regular fan club due to the “collaborative narrative” where any participant can – in any way they want – contribute to the story of the past, present and future of DKult. This experiment has been going on for five years now with spectacular results and many, many contributions. Unfortunately, the narrative has become so complex, convoluted and contradictory that it is nearly impossible to follow. That probably contributes to the current state of confusion. We have a huge cast of characters, some actual people, some fictional, and some – we are not sure.

res does blaze new trails here, taking DKult back to medieval times. No one has done this before. We have in other DKult narratives references to the Roswell, New Mexico, UFO crash in the 1940s and DK’s psychic ancestors in Russia at the time of Rasputin but nothing further back, as far as we know. We have a clandestine organization named T.O.X.I.S. bent on the destruction of DKult (for some reason) and a place in Mexico called The Clinic where maybe you have been but do not remember. res has also created a work dense with arcane symbols, anachronisms and floating signifiers, which all are staples of the DKult narrative. It is a great contribution.

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Deepest thanks to res and Tammy Riggins!

MinXus Mail Bag: Walmarth Advertising Supplement by Cascadia Artpost (Olympia, Washington, USA) with Mail Art Martha (Beckenham, UK)

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Mail art by Cascadia Artpost aka Jack Lattemann (Olympia, Washington, USA) based on art and concepts by Mail Art Martha (Beckenham, UK) and Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

Cascadia Artpost has helped realize the artistic visions of Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys through marvelous models and now an incredible publication which is currently circulating in the Eternal Network.

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Trashpo and DKult have always promoted an ideology of anti-consumerism and pro-recycling. Trashpo is, after all, a form of recycling. Mail Art Martha was well-known in the network for her trash trolley and use of found material long before she joined forces with DKult. She has helped make DKULTUK one of the best known and most innovative DKult chapters in the world. Mail Art Martha’s Walmarth Corporation is an entertaining and witty parody of corporate, consumer culture. Cascadia Artpost’s painstaking realization of Mail Art Martha’s ideas through detailed, special effects style models makes Walmarth Corporation one of the crowning achievements of Trashpo in the half-decade that it has been producing a large quantity of art.

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For those who believe Trashpo is simply collecting candy bar wrappers on the street and mailing them to people, Cascadia Artpost and Mail Art Martha reveal that the practice yields a wide variety of literary and visual creations. All that is required is imagination. The center section of the Walmarth Advertising Supplement includes usable stickers:

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Both Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys have created numerous Trashpo devices and inventions. Cascadia Artpost references these in the publication and offers new products as well.

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Diane Keys has proposed ideas for a Trashpo and DKult economy aka the D-Konomy, although the specifics of the program are not entirely clear at this time.

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And the back cover of the Walmarth Advertising Supplement:

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We have no doubt that this ingenious work by Cascadia Artpost is one of the great achievements of Trashpo and is destined for a place in Eternal Network history. We also applaud the collaborative nature of the work, which integrates and acknowledges the contributions of Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys, among others.

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MinXus Mail Bag: “Love is Blind” by the Blessed Father (San Diego, California, USA)

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Mail art by the Blessed Father (San Diego, California, USA)

We have received two fantastic mail art communications from the Blessed Father and his Church of the Right Now, which we have been slow to document due to a general piling up of material at the bottom of the mail bag and the slow summer months. So we extend our apologies to the Blessed Father and other Tenderfoots who, no doubt, daily await the appearance of their work upon our humble blog.

This first piece by the Blessed Father is a conventional-size postcard with some very unconventional material. Sometimes we wonder if our correspondence with this So Cal Holy Roller will result in a shared cell in the Big House. (Suggesting last year that we were “weed” farmers on a very loud envelope had us a bit skittish.)

We can always plead, protest and generally fall back upon the argument that what the Blessed Father is doing is “art.” We believe it is and have – in our West Coast Mail Artist Survey – identified him as an important contemporary figure. One of the Blessed Father’s special talents (in addition to finding excellent models) is stamp making. The reverse side of the card showcases his skill:

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Given the elements of the mail art genre, the persona of the Blessed Father is nearly as important as the art. The Blessed Father is an engaging – and enduring – character. His antics and the Church of Right Now provide numerous narratives that at their core satirize Evangelical Christianity and reveal the all too abundant hypocrisy attached to it. The Blessed Father’s “schtick” indeed seems timeless and (no pun intended) bottomless in terms of rich material. The Blessed Father joins the Church of the Subgenius and more recently DKult along with dozens of other lesser known ranters and temples that form the curious world of mail art religions and philosophies.

Confusion exists concerning the relationship of the Church of the Subgenius and Neoism since they both blossomed in the mail art network at roughly the same time. They were two separate entities on one level, no question. Yet they were also intertwined on a more practical level. For instance, Neoist tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE was named a saint in the Church and a number of his historic performances took place at Church-sponsored events. Thus, the “multiple user identity” concept as well as less noble and artistic scams to raise money involving fake religious groups and scholarship funds seamlessly passed from Neoism to the Church of the Subgenius. This strengthened the already strong tendency in mail art to invent imaginary people, places and organizations. The Blessed Father is a contemporary manifestation right down to his use of a costume.

In a second package, the Blessed Father kindly sent us a T-shirt and we have scanned the primary image on the front:

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The shirt is very high quality. The image, based on the date and subject matter, suggests some earlier iteration of the Blessed Father persona and narrative. R. Crumb comes to mind. The evolution of the Blessed Father from earlier, underground mail art (now very much a vestige of the past) is apparent in this amazing piece. The envelope is a stamp masterpiece:

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Note the nod to “Bob” Dobbs of the Church of the Subgenius. Here is a detail scan of a few of the stamps:

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Deepest thanks, as ever, to the Blessed Father.

 

MinXus Mail Bag: Vispo Cut-up by Juan Lopez de Ael (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Pais Vasco, Spain)

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Mail art by Juan Lopez de Ael (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Pais Vasco, Spain)

In the last year, we have become familiar with visual poetry by Juan Lopez de Ael and admire it very much. He is, in our estimation, a master of the cut-up. So we are absolutely thrilled to have received this postcard-size piece, which is an original composition, not a copy. Like many visual poets and text-centered artists, Juan Lopez de Ael is an active participant in the Eternal Network.

In the work of Juan Lopez, we see an affinity to William S. Burroughs’ cut-ups and thus earlier DaDa prototypes. But Juan Lopez de Ael also departs from Burroughs significantly. The work of Juan Lopez is less linear and more dependent on the concept of defamiliarization. We see strong affinities to concrete poetry and those poets who focus on the materiality of language. Juan Lopez uses much material that comes from the mass media, and his work can be viewed as an interrogation of this public discourse and its visual manipulations (fonts in particular).

One should not overlook the recombinant and transformative nature of visual poetry by Juan Lopez de Ael. These literal deconstructions result in explorations of alternative syntax, the non-linear and the creation of whole new symbols. The result is more than base distortion. In the context of the current interest in asemic writing, the work of Juan Lopez de Ael deserves consideration.

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Deepest thanks to Juan Lopez de Ael for being so thoughtful and sending an original work!

MinXus Mail Bag: Po-card from Amalgamated Confusion aka Keith S. Chambers (Anaheim, California, USA)

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Mail art by Amalgamated Confusion aka Keith Chambers (Anaheim, California, USA)

We are thrilled to receive a breezy – albeit cryptic – summer postcard from Keith S. Chambers in California. He certainly has attained the DharmaDaDa rank in our eyes with current work we are seeing as well as some fantastic Otherstream writing he did last year. Some excellent stamps on the reverse side:

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Deepest thanks to Keith for staying connected. We hope for more exchanges with him in the months ahead!

 

MinXus Mail Bag: DKult Doodle Therapy TLP #5 by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

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Mail art by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

Our faithful correspondent Rebecca Guyver sent us the fifth Tacky Little Pamphlet (TLP) in her stunning DKult Doodle Therapy series. This new installment is as innovative and entertaining as the previous editions we have received. The DKult Doodle Therapy concept is inherently collaborative. While Rebecca Guyver is unquestionably the guiding force behind these soon-to-be historic TLPs (we’re sure), many other artists have contributed doodles. Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) and Figgy Guyver are given credit for contributing to TLP#5; we gather there are others as well. Rebecca Guyver is also a wonderful correspondent in terms of sending us generous envelopes stuffed with both art and news. These opening scans are of a card that accompanied TLP#5. Here is the reverse side:

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Without further digression, we are very pleased to now present you – dearest Tenderfoots – with complete documentation of DKult Doodle Therapy TLP#5:

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Cover of DKult Doodle Therapy TLP#5 by Rebecca Guyver with additional contributions by Diane Keys, Figgy Guyver and others.

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(Click to enlarge)

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Detail from Dkult Doodle Therapy TLP#5

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Back cover Dkult Doodle Therapy#5

A wonderful production! Rebecca Guyver also included a wonderful example of her plasticized, sewn work.

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And the envelope:

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And the reverse:

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As ever, thanks to Rebecca Guyver!

MinXus Mail Bag: Altered postcard by Babs Bird (London, UK)

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Mail art by Babs Bird (London, UK)

“who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall…”

– Allen Ginsberg in Howl

A biggy “Howdy” and a secret Mink Ranch handshake are extended to Babs Bird. This is her first appearance upon our humble page.

The postcard is a dominant form in contemporary mail art. Babs Bird’s reconfigurations of the postcard foundation through collage are fascinating and an interesting, self-reflective commentary on correspondence art. In this piece and in her work we have seen elsewhere, Babs Bird takes utilitarian, rote and often contrived postcard images and alters them so they express a different, sometimes contrary, narrative or message. The original model village/tin mining image in this piece received is, we believe, brilliantly deconstructed.

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And as for the fave Allen Ginsberg quote that opened this humble blog

“who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall….”

Babs Bird of London has been active on the IUOMA-Ning platform in recent weeks. Today when we went there to find some information about her, we found her gone. A click into her profile produced only a big paragraph of garbled code. Maybe it is a tech glitch at our end. Who knows? We have miles to go and promises to keep, as somebody once said.

Perhaps we will never encounter Babs Bird again. So many thanks for this wonderful mail art.

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