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

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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:

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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/

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

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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.

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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):

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A closer look:

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Many thanks to Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow!

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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!

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

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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: Asemic Vispo & Mail Art Call by Rosa Gravino (Canada de Gomez, Argentina)

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Mail art by Rosa Gravino (Canada de Gomez, Argentina)

Rosa Gravino is a wonderfully talented visual poet and faithful correspondent. She continually works on exhibitions that promote vispo (visual poetry) on a global scale. We have enjoyed working with Rosa Gravino for some time. In particular, we have fond memories of her contributions and involvement in the book projects we coordinated with Cheryl Penn (South Africa).

So we are thrilled to have received this postcard-size asemic work by Rosa Gravino. While the asemic elements are pronounced in this piece, we have seen many other fine examples of vispo-asemic hybrid work by Rosa Gravino. Here is the reverse side of the card:

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Rosa Gravino included documentation from one of her amazing exhibitions.

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Marcela Peral is another excellent visual poet. Here is the reverse side. You can click to enlarge:

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Rosa Gravino also included a modified call for more work:

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Send your vispo!

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Make sure to visit Rosa Gravino’s blog:

http://rosagravino.blogspot.com/

MinXus Mail Bag: Scanpo by Maria Morisot aka Moan Lisa (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)

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Mail art by Maria Morisot aka Moan Lisa (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)

FinnBadger’s (Columbus, Ohio, USA) recent scannerpo experiment stimulated some conversations about text-oriented compositions in relation to printers, scans, etc.; the concept has been “in the air” lately. Simultaneously, Moan Lisa was interested in ways to generate vispo; so we suggested a kind of scannerbed-rooted layering.

Moan Lisa – or more accurately Maria Morisot – kindly sent us a result of the exploration in a postcard-size format. Maria Morisot appears to have overlaid poems by Jean Garrigue (a fairly obscure contemporary of Elizabeth Bishop and John Berryman) and Queer, William S. Burroughs’ deeply disappointing sequel (if that is the correct term) to Junky.

Maria Morisot’s vispo transcends both Garrigue and Burroughs in this particular instance, IOHO. We did some re-mix work to accentuate the distortion:

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This overlaying has and can be used in effective vispo composition. Overlaid text, we believe, can be used in the generation of asemic writing as well.

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We are huge fans of text overlays – if that is not obvious – and so we are thrilled to have and share this work by Moan Lisa/Maria Morisot. Deepest thanks!

The reverse side of the card:

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Thickly overlaid concrete poetry (aka scanpo aka scannerpo) by Dark wall:

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