MinXus Mail Bag: Vispo Collabs by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 1

Mail art by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

This summer we received two large packages of mail art from visual poet Jim Leftwich in Roanoke, the first of which (chronologically) we are documenting in this blog. The vast majority of the pieces are collaborations between Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow. (The exception is one very interesting asemic work at the end.) According to Facebook, Evan Damerow resides in New Zealand. His work was unknown to us before the arrival of this missive.

While Jim Leftwich seems to us inclined toward the prolific naturally, we attribute some of this outpouring of work this summer to the 2015 Marginal Arts Festival. The event seems to have been a great success and a perusal of the documentation will be rewarding to Tenderfoots, no doubt:

afterMAF 2015 Day 2 - 100_6459

The Anti-Brain Rot mail art call and exhibition also accompanied the festival, which occurred in July (2015). Here is some partial documentation of the entries via C. Mehrl Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA):

https://cmehrlbennett.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/the-anti-brain-rot-mailart-exhibit/

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 2

Unless otherwise indicated, all the pieces shown here are Jim Leftwich-Evan Damerow collabs.

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 3

These Leftwich-Damerow collabs hold specific interest to the trashpoets and D-Kulters in the network (many of whom are rabid followers of our humble blog), as Jim Leftwich is acknowledged as having created some of the earliest Trashpo (2005). These pieces (the current work shown here) use found material, have the organic structure so recognizable in most Trashpo and also show the anti-art stance and the On the Road spontaneity of Trashpo composition.

Trashpo is a form of visual poetry. (Many current practitioners are either unaware of or disregard this fact). The pieces documented here make abundant and innovative use of text, text-image associations and juxtapositions, cut up, disruption, asemics and other approaches that are related to poetry and the poetic as well as the tenets of Trashpo rather than mere collage. In short, they are excellent examples. The work transcends Trashpo in many ways yet still offers insights into Trashpo theory and practice for the working trashpoet.

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 4

Jim L. - 8.25.2015 - 5

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 6

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 7

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 8

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 10(A)

A bonus in the package was the piece below: “Spirit Writing” by Jim Leftwich (1997), a piece of historical significance because it was made so early in the context of the current thriving and burgeoning asemic movement. Jim Leftwich, however, and as many know, has reservations concerning the use of the term “asemic” and having his own work labeled as asemic writing. So we encourage Tenderfoots to consider the perspective of visual poetry here, although we believe the tide of history is very likely to identify Jim Leftwich as an asemic writer (among other designations):

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 9

A closer look:

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 10

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 11

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 12

Many thanks to Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow!

MinXus Mail Bag: Asemic Tacky Little Pamphlet (TLP) by Jason Motsch (Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, USA)

Jason - 8.23.2015 - 1

Mail art by Jason Motsch (Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, USA)

The Tacky Little Pamphlet (TLP), a mail art staple, is an ideal vehicle for asemic writing projects. Certainly prize examples can be found in the massive body of John M. Bennett’s (Ohio, USA) work, among others. Now Jason Motsch has made another contribution to the genre with this wonderful piece he sent us. The opening scan is the cover. The pages are approximately 2 X 3 inches, and he faithfully follows the “official” TLP folding pattern. Here are the inside pages:

Jason - 8.23.2015 - 2

This is a very free form, calligraphy-based asemic writing, somewhat traditional compared to current, exotic methods for generating symbols.

Jason - 8.23.2015 - 3

This asemic TLP by Jason Motsch, as with most asemics that travel through the mail art network, is actually asemic-vispo hybrid work. The colorful triangles provide a useful continuity and anchors for the organic, apparently spontaneous writing.

Jason - 8.23.2015 -  4

And the back cover:

Jason - 8.23.2015 - 5

The TLP provides a brief yet sustained asemic cycle. As language is suggested, so is the structure of a lyric poetry cycle. We find the work interesting and engaging. Here is the envelope:

Jason - 8.23.2015 - 6

And the reverse:

Jason - 8.23.2015 - 7

Many thanks to Jason Motsch for sending more excellent asemic writing and vispo!

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

Erica - 8.6.2015 - 1

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.

Erica - 8.6.2015 - 2

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

Erica - 8.6.2015 - 3

And the reverse:

Erica - 8.6.2015 - 4

Thanks as ever to Erica Durante.

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

Juan - 7.29.2015 - 1

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.

Juan - 7.29.2015 - 2

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

MinXus Mail Bag: The new issue of “Flummox – A Journal of Extinction” is here by David Stafford (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

David Stafford - 7.19.2015 - 1

Mail art by David Stafford (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

Actually it is not a journal; it is a large postcard-size piece from David Stafford that looks like a journal cover. We are thrilled to receive mail from David. We learned through the grapevine he made a trip to New York City not long ago. Perhaps that excursion inspired him to make this commentary on the condition of the (post-) avant. From his perspective, the future is not bright. We tend to agree that most of the current tepid avant posturing we see seems like a eulogy delivered by an Assistant Professor of Medieval Studies at a poorly attended funeral.

If we wrote that David Stafford is the unquestionable reigning king of mail art satire, we might offend the sensibilities of egalitarian networkers who do not believe such value judgments should be uttered or proposed. FLUMMOX – A JOURNAL OF EXTINCTION addresses numerous publications, both online and off, that present what some call “intermedia” work, along with theoretical commentary. The overlaid letters on the image strongly suggest, of course, visual poetry aka vispo. Flummox contains the word “flux,” so David Stafford has made a sweeping inventory ranging from vispo to Fluxus. These various iterations of the post-avant are currently fashionable in and outside the Eternal Network. Too bad he did not work Oulipo in there – that one is especially trendy! While Fluxus is part of history, it is certainly enjoying a revival.

As if FLUMMOX – A JOURNAL OF EXTINCTION were not enough, the reverse side has David Stafford’s wonderful drawing and more humor:

David Stafford - 7.19.2015 - 2

David Stafford always provides perspective, a dash of common sense and gales of laughter. As ever, many thanks!

Three Concrete Poems by Dark wall – concrete poetry, visual poetry

hole.6.221

PYRAMID31

7.9.2015.31

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

Erica - 6.30.2015 - 1

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.

Erica - 6.30.2015 - 2

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

Previous Older Entries