Friday, October 30, 2009
RJ : You have seen nothing yet. The Social Network I created on NING is a sample of what can be done already. And Twitter and Google Wave (I am one of the first to get an account there from Google and am now exploring that search-engine / social networking / communication tool they have build). The communication has become global and instant. But when you are moving around the globe (I tend to be in other countries quite a few times) it is amazing how your network joins you on your travels. The changes and potentials were obviously there already in the beginning of the 90-ies. Some of us (Mark Bloch, crackerjack kid, Charles François, David Cole, were already using computers for their communications. The speed and availabilities has become common these days, and that explains the easiness of which also the old and new generation of mail-artists use all of the new and all tools just to communicate in a creative way. The Eternal network has become a large community.
RJ : That all depends on what month it is. Could be very little or about hundred pieces. The communication-forms that have come as extra absorb the most time. I get about 700 e-mails a days through which I have to filter. Not just spam, but also because of the many websites and blogs that are online and generate e-mail. If you calculate that, about 20,000 pieces of information coming at you in a month. It might drive one crazy when you don’t select. The snail-mail has become scarce. A pile of letters each day still get in, and yes, I do my best to reply to them, but like most can imagine, time to do all is difficult to find.
RJ : The differences in approach and activity lies mostly in the intergration of Internet in our daily life. The snail-mail is still slow but essential to the mail-art network. It seems the mail-artists that were so against the Internet gradually saw that they can use the new communication-tools to their advantage. A lot of old-times joined in on the IUOMA platform (see: http://iuoma-network.ning.com/ ) that I started only a year ago (on November 13th 2008). Soon it will exist only one year and already it has 710+ members online. Also newcomers that through Internet discover the mail-art network and love the idea of exchanging art from artist to artist. The essence of networking has not really changed. Only projects can be done on different communication-platforms as well. Paper documentations are replaced by digital websites. Magazines are replaced by blogs with more participants. Even my old TAM-Bulletin (with news about mail-art projets that circulated in the 80-ies and 90-ies) is replaced by a blog with mail-art projects (see: http://mailartprojects.blogspot.com/ ) where 96 authors write and publish the mail-art projects. It has 60+ visits each days and distributes the mail-art projects information with only one click worldwide.
RJ : I didn’t withdrew quite like that. I stayed active with quite a few, but the Internet and the Fluxus Heidelberg Center took a lot of our time and energy too. Not sure what you mean with ‘the Faker’and what aspect you asking here about. For most people who will read this they have no idea of what you are talking about. New borders within mail-art were being researched and found. Actually the Mail-Art Interview project was going on since 1996 and that meant I was focusing on that 80+ mail-artists that I interviewed. So in these late 90-ies I was quite active but with a smaller and selective group. Those were the most hectic times and I published ten thousands of booklets which were distributed too. Sending less mail-art only came about in the beginning of this new century. Also because of my moving to Breda, new Job, Marriage, just to name a few major changes in my life.
RJ : It is strange that you name it a monicker. For us the Fluxus Heidelberg Center is an important center. The collection of Fluxus Books we have in the center is larger than most libraries we know. We are also in contact with a larger group that are following the spirits of Fluxus. Also the center publishes its own documents in book form as well as in digital form. Litsa Spathi is the creator of Fluxus Heidelberg Center. I was in Heidelberg when we started to work on that. I was honored with the title co-founder. Litsa has been active in that area for a long time. Together we have conceived lots of Fluxus Scores and Performance that we actually did in Germany, Netherlands and Greece. The first 3 years were even published in a book. The motivation is simple. We both follow the spirits of Fluxus. We are (were) in contact with members of the first generation like Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Yoko Ono, Ray Johnson, Norman Solomon, Ken Friedman, and also the active bunch that associates themselves with the new Fluxus and Fluxlist. Litsa has her own Fluxlist Europe and actually a lot more activities with het Fluxus Poetry.
The motivation was to be short to find a platform to gather all the activities and information’s we were confronted with. Performances in the digital ages means that you have to include the new digital techniques too. Performances with camera’s, videos, all kind of new media in performances has quite an impact. Mail-Art and Fluxus are two different things. Both avoid the normal ways that the Artworld wants us to go, that is one of the aspects that makes them work together sometimes.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
RJ : In general YES. Someone has spent time and money of getting that mail to me. It is worth a lot that someone takes that effort.
Friday, October 9, 2009
RJ : In 20 years there can happen a lot. The Internet and Social Network have taken over the function of communication. The traditional mail is just for sending originals which are authentic. A colourcard can also be published on the Internet, sent by e-mail, etc... But what you can't send is 3D, smell, structures on paper.
I have been working with computers all my life. As a 17 year old student learned to programm computers back in the 70-ies (see http://www.facebook.com/ruud.janssen?ref=profile#/album.php?aid=91495&id=501252989 for some historic photo's). But besides this interest in computers there was always my interest in creating art on paper, canvas, etc... Even today, I always enjoy painting. And the handpainted envelopse I send out (must be tenthousands over all these decades) I still can't send in a digital way.
So in 20 years the mail-art will be a selective group that still can afford the postage and want to share things that can't be digitized. It all depends on the survival of the postal system. Decades ago every country had their own Postal Office System. Nowadays it has to become independent and commercial. The postal rates and regulations have become quite stricts. Playing with that new system is a challenge on its own again. When a computer cancels an envelope strange things happen. I've tried a few things the last years as well. But sending a plastic bottle through the mail is a difficult task today.
The "progressing and evolving' part in your question is difficult. Mail-Art always uses the system as it evolves and tests the possibilities. New projects are possible when more communication systems are used. My latest contribution is a card that I will have to print out myself and actually is published before it is printed and sent. The timefactor is a part in mail-at projects as well. Some things go slow by snail-mail, but communication by e-mail goes in a second. These two can join and develope new concepts. A sample is the IUOMA-Novel that is a single project by an UK Mail-Artist (see: http://iuoma-network.ning.com/group/iuomanovel). 44 Mail-Artists are discussing the project with 261 comments - status of today). One single book is travelling the world ans has to become one book that returns in the UK. On January 30th 2009 the project started and it still is being followed by all these people who wonder what the next step will be. Now that is a project that is quite specific and fits the timeframe we live in.
There are more samples like these. creative people always use the new ways the communication system offers. An analogue camera that travels and causes photos to be taken by playes in the project or accidental exposures caused by postal workers (a project I took part in years ago). Or the IUOMA-Ning platform that in 7 months reached 500 members and was published in a hardcopy book though on-demand publishing. There are so many new things developed that can be integrated in mail-art. We will see what the next 20 years bring. I only hope I will be alive then as well.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Karys Llewellyn: What are your thoughts on forms of modern communications tools such as social networking sites, email and text message?
RJ : I have always experimented with the new forms of communication. In the 80-ies I was working with a BBS (Bulletin Board Service) to explore the digital distribution of a mail-art project magazine. The last years I have again experimented with a blog with over 90 authors that publish their mail-art projects online (see: http://www.mailartprojects.blogspot.com/). Besides the live environment I also archive al the mail-art projects information on a website in the form of .PDF files to ensure that the information will be available for many years (see: http://www.iuoma.org/mailartprojectsarchive.html). The websites come and go, the digital files that archived well will live a bit longer. It is my concern that the digital information will vanish when we don't archive things well enough.
Social Networking Sites are a relative new thing. On http://iuoma-network.ning.com/ I am experimenting with a platform where the IUOMA was brought to life again. Over 600 IUOMA-members are now lively exchanging information and are starting projects. Digital and paper projects are integrated and that works fascinatingly well. A new thing that happens is that a new generation learns about mail-art though these websites and networks. The strat with a digital address to fins a real address. Again here I document the developement of these digital explorations in the form of books. The first 500 IUOMA-members were documented in a digital LuLu publication that can be transformed in ea book when someone just orders the book. The digital version of the book is available for free (hundreds have downloaded the book). The hardcopy versiopn only has been printed a few times for members. They will survive the coming decades for sure which I can't say for the Social Networks who will 'explode' one of these days because commercial aspects of websites are coming to the surface.
RJ : The last few dacades? That is from about 1989 to 2009. The postal system used to deliver a lot of paper, that has been reduced quite a bit. The digital flow of information has increased more than the decrease of paper flow. It is so easy to produce something on a computer and to send it to just anybody or to post it on a blog and/or forum.
The paperwork is still the thing I treasure most. But somehow the things I get in ternd to be less and smaller. The cost of sending out mail-art in the traditional way has increased a lot. No large envelopes. No catalogues in the form of thick books. Those are changes that I see over these last decades.
The role of the postal system is just to transport the paperwork and packages, We still need that for the oldfashioned mail-art. I enjoy the play of computerwork and paperwork. Printing digital work on paper, digitizing paperwork into digital archives. To sen a book to someone these days is a cosly business. It explains why catalogues in the form of boopklets has been transformed into blogs with digital information. I prefer the booklets, but know the moneyfactor is a disturbing one.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Karys Llewellyn: What is it about Mail-Art, compared to other mediums of art, that keeps you participating?
RJ: In Mail-Art all kind of media come together. So Mail-Art çould be called a specific medium as well, but with all the communicationforms at hand nowadays, there is so much to experiment.... The concept is that communication is the medium you use in your art. Mail, the traditional form of sending something from one person to another has now also the e-mail form. But websites generate e-mails (like social networks do) and the play with communication has speeded up a lot. The letter takes its time. When I send something out, the response might take days, weeks or months. That is always a surprise. Communication brings you new ideas.
In Mail-Art one normally takes a break now and then. Always answering mail is a hard job. But once you get a suprise and/or interesting piece in your hand, you are eager to send out something again.
So to make it short in answering: the surprise and interaction with other artists that work on a non-commercial basis in mail-art. The exchange of art, time and ideas.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
RJ : About interviewing me; no problem. Just realize that it sometimes takes time for me to answer. About Michael Hernandez de Luna, I am not sure about having an e-mail address. Maybe just google it?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
RJ : Yes, I will write you what gAsPexT isn't. Not on this blog, but it will be a piece of Mail that will be on it's way soon to you. Thanks for your time to interview me. I am looking foreward to see the complete result.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
RJ : In Mail-Art there are only senders and receivers. If you send out a lot you get in a lot. If you do a lot of projects or issue magazines and other publications you automatically become the center of your network. But besides the network you know there are lots of other networks you are not aware of. I was very active in the 80-ies and 90-ies. End of the 90-ies I was more active in electronic communication than in the snail-mail. But sending out mail and receiving mail has always been something special. Communication has speeded up a bit. More intense and more directt with text, images and even videos. But the increased production also means that what is made often vanishes in the big electronic archive. I always tested the new forms in mail-art and wrote about them. The Social Networks are now the latest thing, but that will transform into new communicationways too. We get in more information than we can deal with. We scan through what we see and decide what gets out time. Not sure if I answered your question now.....
Monday, May 4, 2009
RJ : TAM-Publications started years ago with the publishing of texts about Mail-Art. In the beginning the texts were copies and distributed. In the last years the publications became books which are available online too at e.g. : http://stores.lulu.com/iuoma. The last publication are also available there. New projects are the book that will be published in connection with the IUOMA 1988-2008 celebration in which this Union will be explained again. Texts from some major players in the mail-art network will be published in that book too.
The IUOMA is a conceptual idea. Everybody that wants to become a member of this International Union of Mail-Artists automatically becomes a member just because they ask. The concept has grown into a group of people who say to be a member of the IUOMA. They have their own platform nowadays on: http://iuoma-network.ning.com/ where already 443 members have joined in the last 5 months. These days the old generation of mail-artists that is still alive and active has also access to the Internet and have integrated this communication-form into their art as well.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I would also be interested in the impact you think the apparition of this new "specie" of writers/artists will have on the ones who love literature /art (at such creators, how should the receivers look like ?). And which do you think the role of the specialty critic will be in the new equation ?
RJ : This is a question that probably is interesting for you. The answer is pure speculation since small events in the world can cause large changes. What is the value of a prediction? The art I produce is changing as my life changes. Human Beings like to reproduce what they see. We even think that repetition is what makes the world go on. The small hidden changes are so effective though that in only a few years we see the movement towards a new direction. I like to focus on these essential changes. The factor time is one of them. The Information-bomb you (or rather Paul Virilio) mentioned is not the problem. Computers can store so much information, nowadays more a single person van handle. How does one deal with not knowing all? New generations don't read information, they globally scan information. A new attitude towards information that makes it easier for them to deal with so many sources the Internet offers.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
When Internet is only used to promote ideas than the visitors often aren't always interested. The freedom in communication is essential. I choose with whom I communicate and what I like to exchange. Communication is always 2-ways. Promoting ideas sometimes is oneway communication.
Internet only brought the speed-element. I can communicate over large distance instantly. Also I can send images quickly without sending out the original. I can even make originals that don't exsist (digital art). I can see what others are sending me (on e.g. a Blog) and anticipate on what I receive before I actually have received it. The time-factor is what makes Internet so fascinating. Projects that would take years suddenly can be done in minutes when one knows the tools and software.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
RJ : The discovering of Mail-Art brought me in contact with the larger world. I visited a lot of museums too. But the best gallery turned out to be my mail-box. You can't buy the personal energy people send in the form of artworks just for you. Mail-Art is an international art-movement that always tried to stay away from the mail art-galleries and museums. But that doesn't mean they are not interested in this movement. Only through archives that mail-artists have kept over the years, parts of the mail-art get into these museums. The need for collecting things grows inside of mail-art too. You can't buy it though, you will have to invest creative energy in order to get some in return.
RJ : I can only speak for myself. I had both interests in Science and in Art. My decision to study Physics was combined with the thought that this studie would be the basis for my life and that art would be the form in which I had to make no compromise to what I want to do. My art doesn't have to be sold. I make what I like to make. I send it to who I want it to have. The essence in this idea is I believe that Art and Money are not stimulating each other. Making art to make money makes you depending on the viewer, the buyer, the gallery, the museum. You say that some people declare themselves "poet". Maybe they just mean that they let creativity go its way without following the boarders set by science and rules from others.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Luciana Tamas: isn't there the risk that only a quite elitistic zone to be able to perceive a such message.
It is obvious that the poetic metaphor can find its correspondent in form, as well as the visual image (even the one generated by computersystems) has, certainly, a metaphoric component, but this implies also a receiver with an extremely well-trained vision. The question is: isn't there the risk that only a quite elitistic zone to be able to perceive a such message". .
Who do we make the art for? Is it the public or does the artist just want to present his message in the timeframe and possibilities he is offered? In Mail-Art the art goes originally from artist to artist. No gallery needed. What I send goes direct to the observer and he/she should be able to interpret what I send him. if not, than the message is lost (or maybe archived). The observer doesn't have to be well-trained. I made the piece especially for him/her. Also there is normally no money involved. The artworks are gifts from one artist to another. So the concept we are dealing with in mail-art is completely different from the artworld. It is actually avoiding the official artworld. That sometimes work does end up in museums is just because they catch up and want the new markets too.....