MinXus Mail Bag: Schwitterspo by Eric Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

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

Erica Durante is an awesome correspondent, especially given her gargantuan responsibilities as President of DKult New Jersey (DKULTJER).

So far this summer she has sent us two pieces we are thrilled to share today. The first (above) is mounted on sturdy cardboard. Eric Durante has ventured squarely into the textual-visual realm (and makes an additional connection to music) with both pieces. There is certainly an emphasis on materiality.

Lately in Trashpo circles, there have been discussions about the influence of Kurt Schwitters. Indeed claims have been made Schwitters is the true “Godfather of Trashpo.” A certain faction of trashpoets see themselves aligned with and pledge allegiance to Schwitters, sometimes disavowing other historical connections. Discussions about the relation of Schwitters to Trashpo are not new. Some time ago we proposed the term “Schwitterspo” be adopted as a subset of Trashpo to accommodate this group of Kurt fans, although DKult can never be DKurt.

We are not suggesting Erica Durante is making a conscious homage to Kurt Schwitters and Schwitterspo in these pieces, yet artists frequently channel ideas that are “in the air.” This great mail art builds upon a rich avant tradition from the 20th century that owes a great deal to Schwitters. Erica Durante brings it into the 21st century and makes it uniquely her own.

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An earlier piece received from Erica Durante uses her file card approach but also has the Schwitterspo tonality:

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And the reverse:

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Thanks as ever to Erica Durante.

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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: For All the Dopesick SF Haters (Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA)

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Mail art by Dopesick San Francisco aka Michael Kelly (Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA)

A few years ago we started seeing work by Dopesick San Francisco (DSF) posted online. We were impressed, a little perplexed and have since become diehard fans. In our estimation, art by DSF is sophisticated, ironic and intelligent. Sure, there is the façade of moronic crudeness and Artaudian ultra-violence; that is what makes the Punk aesthetic so great. That’s why DSF is so great and one of the best anti-art slingers in the contemporary network.

We were convinced right away this guy knew what he was doing (or had made ineptness a form of genius), and he must have honed his skills somewhere. DSF clearly came out of a Punk or post-Punk milieu and had absorbed the anti-art stance brilliantly – the one that can be traced back to DaDa. Punk and mail art were once deeply intertwined. Jon Foster (North Carolina, USA) explored these roots in his own Punk mail art revival not long ago.

The DSF vision might seem anachronistic in a time when we refer to folk art strains in mail art. The in-your-face vomit-on-Xerox-machine tactics of the Punk mail artists have been abandoned (except maybe Moan Lisa). Yet DSF is neither reactionary nor nostalgia act. The Punk presence in the art seems natural and effortless. He updates the classic tropes with street art and popcult infusions.

The perplexed part mentioned earlier came from not knowing anything about DSF. We know the Punk Era folks pretty well. Today, we do not know much more about DSF than we did when we first became fans, except that his name is Michael Kelly. He is on the East Coast, not the West. He actually sent us this postcard-size piece, and we are thrilled.

DSF aka Michael Kelly remains mostly a mystery to us. He is on Facebook and has a lot of friends. He does, indeed, seem to have some sort of connection to music. He even has a DSF-Dharma Punx T-shirt for sale. So he must be somebody who came from somewhere. Take a look at his work:

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DSF/Michael Kelly is currently receiving some interest from the Trashpo crew, not that he needs a larger audience, but because what he is doing with anti-art is innovative enough to be instructive to Kulters and trashpoets. We are thrilled to have some of his work for the archives. Many thanks!

Also find DSF on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000526479966&fref=ts

MinXus Mail Bag: Thomas Brown More or Less (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

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

Thomas Brown is fast becoming an Eternal Network master of ceremonies for minimalist poetry and pithy event scores, territory inhabited – for example – by such stalwarts as Richard Canard (Illinois, USA). Luckily, minimalism is a field that inherently eludes crowding.

We are opening this humble blog of work by Thomas Brown with a very interesting add & pass sheet he sent us. This is definitely not minimal, but it has some asemic-suggestive glyphs that are begging for further mystification. The sheet came in this envelope:

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We are also thrilled to share some new, trademark Thomas Brown cards received:

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While the self-reflective text is minimal, the reverse side is crowded with information:

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And another, equally self-referential:

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This piece does include a visual element. And the reverse:

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Many thanks to Thomas Brown for sending us this new work!

MinXus Mail Bag: Mail Art by Erni Baer (Hamburg, Germany)

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Fan Club Wars: To Be Continued (unfortunately)

Fan Club Wars

Since the disappearance of Tell Tubby This Is Just Another Mail Art Disaster, the Eternal Network has desperately needed another blog solely devoted to the relentless promotion of one individual and distribution of misinformation. Welcome the New Kid on the block and best of luck:

https://offsceneakademie.wordpress.com/

(This blog entry is a work of fiction. Any connection to actual individuals and/or events is totally coincidental.)

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/

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