MinXus-Lynxus announces Shooting Gallery Project w/Ficus strangulensis (West Virginia, USA) using text by Empress Marie Antonette (Japan), Diane Keys (Illinois, USA) & William Shakespeare

Today a missive was dispatched from Minxus-USA (New York’s Overlook Hotel) to Ficus Strangulensis in West Virginia, USA. This is the first (and possibly final) phase of the MinXus-Lynxus Shooting Gallery Project. Here is an overview:


Enjoying a shot from his Garand at NRA's Electronic Target event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

(Photo courtesy of USA National Rifle Association – Depicts the action art-text editing component of the MinXus Shooting Gallery Project)

Purpose: To detect deep cosmic mythological texts embedded within existing texts & thus creating new texts using chance operation/precision action-art editing by Ficus strangulensis

Texts: Trashpo by Diane Keys (Elgin Illinois, USA), Lexicon by Marie Wintzer aka Empress Marie Antonette (Tokyo, Japan) & sonnet by William Shakespeare

Event Score:

– Ficus strangulensis receives texts from DK, Empress Marie & Shakespeare (texts have been formatted as rifle targets)

– Ficus uses texts as rifle targets (under safety-insured, responsible & properly permitted conditions), thus piercing texts with bullet holes in action art performance

– Ficus kindly returns “executed” text-targets (using enclosed envelope) to MinXus USA

– MinXus USA transcribes “executed” text-targets (where bullets holes have erased words and letters) into new text

– MinXus-Lynxus documents all aspects of the project

(Photo by Carina Granlund (Petsmo, Finland). This illustrates the image-textual/perforation method that will be used for text editing in the Shooting Gallery Project. MinXus-Lynxus views this also as an experiment in Holism.)


Original lexicon page by Marie Wintzer (Tokyo, Japan)

Text by Marie Wintzer converted into woodchuck target ( aka hedge hog or large rodent) for Shooting Gallery Project

Trashpo by Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) (Translated by De Villo Sloan)

Trashpo by Diane Keys formatted as woodchuck target

Text of William Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare the to a Summer’s Day?” sonnet (courtesy of Academy of American Poets)

Shakespeare sonnet formatted as woodchuck target.

MinXus-Lynxus thanks all participants profusely, especially Ficus strangulensis – the event score has evolved since earlier email conversations about the project. We also look forward to documenting the project further as it unfolds.

MinXus mail from Mr. Ficus strangulensis, Panjandrum of Blorchistan, Fertilizer of The One Tree (Charleston, West Virgina, USA)

Visual poetry as ATC cards from Ficus strangulensis (Charleston, West Virginia, USA)

With trembling hands and anticipation, I was pleased to find a thick envelope in the Mink Ranch Mailbag last week from new-old friend Ficus strangulensis in Charleston, West Virginia.

Many tenderfoots might not be as familiar with Ficus as they are with his contemporaries such as John M. Bennett, Blaster Al or Sheila Murphy. Once an industrial chemist with an inquiring mind, Ficus strangulensis found mail-art and Otherstream literature, producing an extraordinary body of work, the bulk of which was released publicly in the 1990s.

His zine Transmog was a beacon for what we will identify in this blog as Otherstream but also has a number of other designations. Today he remains active creatively, contributing, communicating through the Eternal Network but below the radar (perhaps the proper response for an artform that always valued privacy). Some might characterize him as reclusive, busy with arcane pursuits and rifle target practice in the secluded wilderness of West Virginia.

Ficus always includes nice correspondence and gives you a peak of his mailing list:

As the beginning of his message indicates, I have proposed a collaboration with Ficus; and he has agreed. (More on this exciting development later!). The reference to William S. Burroughs is not random. Ficus – along with his contributions to visual poetry, collage and photography – is recognized by many as being a serious practitioner and working heir to applications of the “cut-up technique” developed by Burroughs, Brion Gysin and Harold Norse. Ficus has refined the method considerably, and he sent me some examples of his poem-objects to add to my growing collection of his work:


Bad timing characterizes my correspondence with Ficus over the years.

When I lived in Alabama, I made the acquaintance of Jake Berry in Huntsville, Alabama, a writer, artist and musician of striking originality – a “pure product of America” as William Carlos Williams wrote. Jake and I developed a crude cultural slash-and-burn programme for the southern portion of the U.S. that came to include Mike Miskowski (Tempe, Arizona) and his MaLLife zine and his Bomb Shelter Propaganda publishing outfit. (Ruth Schowalter in Alabama – gladly abandoning her New Criticism-influenced master’s thesis on Thomas Hardy – came on board with Paper Bird Press and there was a steady correspondence with vispo theorist Bob Grumman in Florida.)

I am convinced I saw work by Ficus for the first time in MaLLife about the time Mike published some work by Dick Higgins, which brought a feeble awareness to my mind (no doubt obvious to everyone else) that the New Wave of visual poetry and correspondence art was actually connected to the older efforts of Fluxus and Ray Johnson that emanated from New York City and I that had (very wrongly assumed) was the work of a bunch of mental patients. I was no stranger to performances by people dripping water into buckets. Ficus offered an avant poetry that was an alternative to the true Red Menace of those times: Langpo.

I saw Transmog and Ficus’s work elsewhere, but the years of his greatest presence in the network were years when I was taking time out. I also missed the David Chirot phenom. Fortunately, there has been ample time to connect and re-connect.

The envelope displays a collab with (Trashpo Jesus) Jim Leftwich, suggesting that what comes around goes around in mail-art:

Many thanks and much affection to new-old friend Ficus strangulensis – Hero of the Southern Front. MinXus-Lynxus is sponsoring and documenting the collab we hope we can manage to complete with Ficus. An envelope will soon be on its way to West Virginia.

The Ohio State University has a nice and well-organized collection of work by Ficus strangulensis:


MinXus mail from Ms. Cheryl Penn (Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa) with a new book & and three heaping spoons of scepticism concerning Trashpo

Cover of Trashbook by Cheryl Penn (Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa)

Faithful correspondent Cheryl Penn has been enriching the archives of MinXus-USA lately with some rare and lovely examples of her unique artist’s book. Of particular interest is this Trashbook that manages to question the current Trashpo (trash poetry) craze AND show the dumpster divers how even the most base materials can be transformed into art. This certainly qualifies as MinXus-Lynxus in its pursuit of beauty and truth.

Cheryl Penn is given credit for being a founder of MinXus-Lynxus through her involvement with the (Arthur Rimbaud) Symbolist School of Subtle Aesthetic Obscurity (SSSAO).

We very much enjoy being able to take a look at the indigenous trash of South Africa as well as cut-up bits of Cheryl’s very fine paintings.

Founder of the New Alexandrian Library, which houses many important MinXus-Lynxus texts, Cheryl has a healthy scepticism concerning Trashpo and the rise of the D-Kult, a bawdy gang of Trashpoets & self-proclaimed apocalyptic prophets who have announced the divinity of the revered visual poet Jim Leftwich.

Cheryl Penn’s handwritten notes are generally acknowledged to be a form of asemic writing.

Ironically, the Dkulters have honored Cheryl with an award for her work with aesthetic trashbooks.

Trashpo? Perhaps in terms of definition, but this is work that matches the achievements of Empress Marie!

We are thrilled and honored indeed to have received this chapbook from Cheryl Penn. We look forward to many more exchanges in the future. Make sure to visit Cheryl’s blog:


MinXus mail: Mr. Eduardo Cardoso (Sines, Portugal) sends asemic, minimalist, visual poems

We have followed developments in Eduardo Cardoso’s art, poetry and books for about two years and have managed to maintain a fairly consistent correspondence, given that he has been very gracious sending packages whenever he has received pleas from us indicating: “Eduardo! Have not seen your work lately. Please send!”

From a MinXus-Lynxus perspective, Eduardo is a top-tier visual poet. Always economical, he is becoming a full-fledged minimalist, a mode not as easy as it appears. We are positive many will concur.

The two beautiful poems by Eduardo Cardoso showcased here take a very interesting approach to asemic writing. Hopefully, you can see in the scan that underneath a thin layer of paper is a line of text. We simply cannot make out what they say, if anything, by gazing at the front or the back of the paper. Yet it is obvious that words or letters are there, just beyond intelligibility. The fact that the asemics can be viewed from the front or back of the page also suggests this could be considered haptic or object poetry.

The small red dots, Eduardo’s trademark stamp, and the paper textures further define the piece. Here is the second poem in the group that also incorporates fractured language in the minimalist style:

“tema d” overlays the asemic text (a bit more coherent in this poem) creating a larger, angular symbol, should you choose to read it as such. In our view, a masterful use of language as material as well as, perhaps, a construct that provides some insights into the nature of writing in a metaphorical sense. Also a dedicated mail-artist and networker, Eduardo’s envelopes are always fascinating:

Some friends might recall Eduardo Cardoso, like Cheryl Penn (South Africa), has been intensely involved in Ruud Janssen’s (Netherlands) Fluxus word performance (based on an event score). Eduardo has truly given ZALOP a meaning in the world (note the cursive ZALOP on the envelope). We see ZALOP stamps and references to this day in a good part of the work received.  Eduardo’s ANOMALY stamp is a longtime M-L fav:

Eduardo Cardoso’s Paranormal Mail-Art blog is a treasure-trove of amazing work he has received from all over the world, his work, and a brilliant blog concept. Be there or be square!


Pre-Minxus relic: Music by Dick Higgins composed by firing rifle at blank score sheets – later performed by Philip Corner


Musical composition by Dick Higgins circa 1962. Probably part of score later performed by orchestra conducted by Philip Corner.

MinXus mail from Ms. Theresa Williams (Bowling Green, Ohio, USA) in honor of Walt Whitman, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), and Lorine Neidecker

Sometime during the unbridled wysteria that engulfed Solar Festival 2012, faithful correspondent Theresa Williams sent us this lovely material commemorating the immortal poets Walt Whitman, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), and Lorine Niedecker. Ms. Theresa is well-aware that all three poets meet the requirements of taste and decorum that make them worthy of mention by MinXus-Lynxus.

We are so happy to learn that Ms. Theresa has been appointed (even if by herself) President of the New Arazamas Literary Society. We can understand why she was selected. Here is the beautiful reverse side of the “Lives of the Annointed [sic]” card:

We are moved by the sentiments expressed as well as the fine quality of the printing. Concerning Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), who might not be as familiar to the discerning as Walt Whitman and H.D. (we always defer to Mr. Robert Duncan on that subject), MinXus-Lynxus very much approves of the company she kept and activities she was involved in at a certain point in her career. These include but are not limited to:

Objectivists and Objectivism in the 1930s (no relation to Ayn Rand)


Mr. Louis Zukofsky

Mr. Louis Zukofsky’s theories of the “poem as object” & his “Sincerity and Objectification” essay

Mr. George Oppen

Mr. Carl Rakosi

Mr. Charles Reznikoff

Kenneth Rexroth (an Objectivist drop-out, Rexroth’s contributions to the Poetry Chicago issue are well worth a glance)

Ever thoughtful, this mirthful tribute to the poets came in a decorated envelope:

And the reverse:

Make sure to visit Theresa Williams’ “The Letter Project,” a modern correspondence school:


In the midst of celebrating Solar Festival 2012, our spirits briefly sank into the squalid mire of despair’s gutter when our original blog, now known as MinXus-Lynxus I, was completely obliterated by a wanton act of destruction so cruel and irrational (or totally incompetent) we question if the perpetrator(s) can be deemed as human.

So as not to be silenced, we immediately established MinXus-Lynxus II, and Dark wall, if not already, became a hero salvaging material that many said could not be recovered from the ether. Yet some MinXus treasures have been lost forever.

Many of our faithful correspondents have still not found their way back to the blog, even though they continue to send work through the postal system. We can imagine their confusion when MinXus-Lynxus suddenly disappeared.

Ms. Theresa is one of them. We hope her comments will again grace these now-diminished but ever-determined pages.

Many ask us: “Who is the miserable culprit, the fascist who destroyed the art and wisdom of MinXus?”

We do not know ourselves but have determined it was an “inside job.” We were extraordinarily lax about allowing access to the blog’s administrative section. Perhaps it was incompetence that accidentally deleted all our work? That cannot be ruled out. Then fear and shame to confess?

Was it a “Lone Gunman” or a conspiracy? We have no answers at this time. A new security system makes it impossible for contributors to “blow-up” MinXus-Lynxus again. The destruct button can now be accessed by only one individual and it is with one individual that the fate of MinXus rests. Our current contributors should feel free, indeed are encouraged, to post anything they deem appropriate.

Empress Marie fell into a dangerous spell of wysteria and experienced a return of the periodic amnesia (aka ‘nesia) with which she is afflicted. She is deeply concerned that during her summer travels in Europe some scoundrel might have taken priceless MinXus codes and passwords from her when she, admittedly, was too freely partaking of the wines of Alsace over several days and locations she cannot entirely recollect as the result of the trauma she has experienced.

Another theory is that German customs agents procured the codes and passwords during one of the many detainments and humiliating personal searches the Empress has had to endure in order to enter her beloved Alsace.

Pressure to bring the culprit to justice remains intense. Fingers have been pointed in several possible directions. At the risk of implicating the innocent, here is the list so far:


Errorists (TOXIS terrorists)

Empress Marie Antonette

David Zack

We will probably never know, but we will notify you concerning new developments. We felt the subject must be addressed.

MinXus mail from Christopher Skinner aka Lestaret (Norkfolk, UK) – asemic writing, haptic poetry

MinXus-Lynxus USA is thrilled to acquire this wonderful, framed piece containing Christopher Skinner’s asemic symbols and artwork. Although new to mail-art (we discovered him at Yo Ma),  he is an accomplished artist and craftsman who produces artist’s books and is sending beautiful, assemblage-type pieces (very similar to Claire Dinsmore’s) to appreciative recipients across the globe. Christopher is of an aesthetic school rather than anti-art, although he seems to dabble in a higher type of Trashpo from time to time.

As the scan (above) reveals, Christopher Skinner’s exquisite and delicate piece suffered on its journey through the postal system. These chance changes are, however, considered part of the creation of mail-art. Christopher also used wax to gain an impressionist effect, and that is flaking also. This (slight) deterioration of the work makes me think of Erni Baer (Hamburg, Germany) and Nancy Bell Scott (Maine, USA) who are fascinated with disintegrating art objects, especially metals well along in the rusting process. Also John Held Jr.’s mail-art call in conjunction with the San Francisco Quarterly involves work that is decomposing. Here is the reverse side of Christopher Skinner’s piece:

A very interesting narrative has been interjected.

Christopher Skinner sends wonderful envelopes and stamps. Note the interesting card he included on the right. He seems to be a master of printing. Time for your close-up:

And here is a reverse view of the envelope and card:

We are so pleased to have Christopher Skinner’s work. Dw is rummaging through the Mink Ranch Gift Shop seeking an appropriate response. And make sure to take a tour of more work by clicking below:


MinXus mail from Ms. Claire Dinsmore (aka Cleo) (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA): Fluxkit & Bagism

Contents of one bag from among about a half dozen in Flux Kit sent by Claire Dinsmore, including piece of flattened copper.

I have already noted a recent trend in mail-art that involves sending scraps and unaltered, found material in lieu of  making it into conventional art. This might be connected to an increased awareness of recycling and yet another variation on add-and pass. But for seasoned veterans, it also has an uncanny resemblance to those inexplicable Fluxus objects (often bagged) that circulated long ago.

Claire Dinsmore confirmed my observation with a sensational package of bags stuffed with an amazing variety of content ranging from Trashpo to highly aesthetic materials rich in color, texture and suggesting haptic interaction. Claire is an accomplished, indeed professional, artist; however, I do not believe she intended to make a Fluxkit or reference Bagism. Yet in the context of mail-art, I believe that is exactly what she has done: A gathering of many different materials that invite the participant to actively interact with them.

Selected material from Flux Kit by Claire Dinsmore.

I had enough questions about the piece that I engaged Claire in a dialog at the Yoma, which is reproduced here:


DVS : Claire, I am very perplexed about some things. Don’t get me wrong. I REALLY like your work. But what is up with the retro thing?

DK picks up trash in the streets of Elgin & that’s what it looks like when you receive it. But you do this “Back to the Future” thing. It looks like Trashpo Charles Dickens would send, if Charles Dickens did Trashpo. It’s, maybe the dissociative is good. I don’t know. Now I know what a Flux Kit by Charles Dickens would look like.

Value is a slippery subject anyway, but what is the value in receiving a Flux Kit from Charles Dickens? Not in terms of monetary value, but in terms of a Victorian Flux Kit. Maybe it’s a good idea. I don’t know. Now I can imagine what DaDa would look life if it were made by people before DaDa was invented. Know what I mean?”

Claire Dinsmore: Retro?” hmm, “retro” signifies kitsch 50s/60s to me generally. but i suppose it can mean anything old. trash can often be old stuff, so not sure why that wld be odd…? when my trash is “retro,” its 80s-90s or new. the streets are absurdly clean here. the trash in the folios is usually packaging headed for the recycle or trash bin that i keep, or scraps from my work. I’ve been making books for over 30 years, and I can’t bear to throw any of the scrap away, no matter how tiny. I have boxes full of scraps. a lot of the papers are handmade, most Japanese, so unless Dickens collected Japanese paper… Must say, I think a Dickens/Victorian flux-kit sounds pretty damned cool though! An interesting thought I just had/realized – papermaking in Japan is an exceedingly old tradition, so I imagine some of those papers can have creative roots that go back 100s of years…?

DVS: Then I am curious. What is the intent? I am supposed to make something from all the material? My reaction is whatever reaction I have and has little to do with your intent. But I am puzzling over the intent any way. It’s interesting. I will have to confront it and make some sort of meaning from it. Have you noticed? People are mailing art less and just sending material. Why is this happening?

Claire Disnmore: There is no intent. It’s a composition/construction, as it were. “Art for Art’s sake,” as they say… Or, it’s a kit (DK said it was like a trashpo toolbelt – lol!). You can use the stuff in the pockets if you want, or not…. It’s yours now, and up to you…. In this case at least, I would say the material is part of the piece – but isn’t it always anyway? “The media(/um ) is the message” mr mcLuhan – always indicative of choice, and (with)in that choice… (That’s how I construct my often over-the-top packages – everything is a significant element that contributes its voice, as it were, to the experience of the whole. That’s what art is to me: experience. If one can communicate that in the piece, the flavour/tone of the creative energy/impulse at work, then I feel the piece really “works.” The Experiential element, man!) When people send stuff/things, that entails choice, and thus, the creative. Ready-made/found-object fever? Cornell fever? I’ve noted that folks who dig collage are often object freaks too…the flea-market within! A nostalgic turn of mind…? Have to admit, I did not expect you (of all people – lol!) to distinguish it (apart) from “art!”

DVS: That explains a great deal, and thanks for the great mail-art, Claire.

And don’t forget to visit Planet Claire:


Mail-art call: John Held Jr. & San Francisco Arts Quarterly Gutai group show (deadline January 13, 2013) + related call by liketelevisionsnow (New Hampshire, USA)

MinXus-Lynxus officially endorses the following two related events. You can send your work directly to the Gutai event in San Francisco (deadline January 13, 2013) and/or you can join a collaborative project sponsored by liketelevisionsnow (New Hampshire, USA) that will include your work in collage/assemblage pieces that will be sent to the Gutai event in San Francisco (deadline for the liketelevisionsnow project is October 13, 2012).

Call for entries to be sent directly to the show in San Francisco, California:

Gutai & Shozo Shimamoto

Organized by John Held, Jr. & San Francisco Arts Quarterly (sfaqonline.com)

Ever Gold Gallery San Francisco, CA

February 2–March 23, 2013

As part of an exhibition on the historic Japanese avant-garde art movement (1954-1972), we will be featuring a Mail Art show honoring original member Shozo Shimamoto and displaying your thoughts and images relating to Gutai.

All work shown. No fee to enter.

No returns. Documentation to all.

Deadline: January 13, 2013

Send work to:


John Held, Jr.

PO Box 410837

San Francisco, CA

94141 USA

Call for entries for a collaborative Gutai project sponsored by liketelevisionsnow (New Hampshire, USA). From liketelevisionsnow:

A recent mailart project organized by John Held Jr. and the San Francisco Arts Quarterly on the subject of Gutai &Shozo Shimamoto (Japanese artist) is the foundation of this new group.

The Gutai group, which was founded in 1956, was made up of several artists in Japan. The group published a Manifesto, part of which expressed a fascination “with the beauty that arises when things become damaged or decayed.”

The decay was celebrated as a way of revealing the inner life of a given object or material.

What I’d like is for artists to send me small objects that have been damaged or have decayed.  I will then assemble the objects I receive into several collage pieces which will be sent on to Mr. Held’s mailart call.

The objects can be found decayed or damaged, or you the artist can alter them as you wish. The guidelines for this project are:

a.  No objects that weigh more than a pound or would be larger than I could use in collage constructions. (As an example, you can send small toys or other small objects like pottery, inexpensive jewelry, parts of objects like a camera or a recording device. You can send paper, photographs, letters, postcards, whatever you have that’s been damaged or decayed, or altered by your hand.)

b.  Please send only objects which are safe, i.e., no medical waste, human waste, animal waste, etc. You get the picture.

c.  Deadline for this project is October 13, 2012.

d.  I’d also like the artists to “autograph” what they send. Please use a marker pen or sharpie.

e.  Documentation will be sent along with the collages.  I will include all of the artists’ names who sent me something.

If you have any questions about what objects to send, please contact me here at IUOMA before sending.

Send objects to:

The Gutai Project

Box 360

Tamworth, NH 03886 USA

MinXus mail from Ms. Janine Weiss (Boudry, Switzerland)

Wonderful PopArt Solar Disks for Solar Festival 2012 with gorgeous B-sides:

The envelope:

And in a separate mailing, a piece of Ms. Janine’s blue jeans and an interesting take on Holism:

With a note to Dark wall:

Many thanks to Ms. Janine.

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