Altered Postcard by Babs Bird (London, UK)

Babs Bird - 7.21.2015 - 1

Mail art by IUOMA member (?) Babs Bird (London, UK)

“Who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall…”

– Allen Ginsberg in Howl

July 21, 2015 - The postcard is a dominant form in contemporary mail art. Babs Bird’s reconfigurations of the postcard foundation through collage are fascinating and an interesting, self-reflective commentary on correspondence art. In this piece and in her work I have seen elsewhere, Babs Bird takes utilitarian, rote and often contrived postcard images and alters them so they express a different, sometimes contrary, narrative or message. The original model village/tin mining image in this piece received is, I believe, brilliantly deconstructed.

Babs Bird - 7.21.2015 - 2

And as for the fave Allen Ginsberg quote that opened this humble blog

“who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall….”

Babs Bird of London has been active on the IUOMA-Ning platform in recent weeks. Today when I went to find some information about her, I found her gone. A click into her profile produced only a big paragraph of garbled code. Maybe it is a tech glitch at my end. Who knows? I have miles to go and promises to keep, as somebody once said.

Perhaps I will never encounter Babs Bird again. So many thanks for this wonderful mail art!

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 22, 2015 at 1:04am

People leave and come back a lot, and it's no big deal. Sometimes the encouragement is great. Sometimes people want to be left alone, though. But how could some mail hurt?

You know, there are definitely high profile people who leave and come back under another identity, just because they don't want to be caught up in it or don't want to be anymore. (Have you notice m-a can become all consuming?) I know Grigori Antonin never really left - that's right Grigster! - he has been here under another identity for years quietly raising hell.

Now this whole thing could make Babs Bird a legend, if she just disappeared.

KDJ has made almost no mail art for years and left IUOMA. But people still talk about her. Some are not sure if she ever really existed - like a Karen Eliot fake identity or something, but she's real.

So maybe Babs is out there: watching, waiting, deciding.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 21, 2015 at 9:01pm

We have had a lot of new people who are very active on the platform recently. I have been an IUOMA-Ning member for 5 years. I've seen it grow from 1100 to the near 4000 we have now. It's a wonder things work as well as they do, in that rules are minimal.

The mutually supportive m-a community is a great theory. Obviously, people have differences no matter how hard they try. (I am astounded how the veteran m-a people openly fight on FB.) Different languages and cultures alone can lead to misunderstanding. There have been horrendous battles that nearly shut down the platform. Other times, the entire IUOMA community has rallied behind an issue and been incredible.

We've got to remember mutual respect. That's all I can conclude from observing things that go on here. There are mechanisms for filing complaints if you think something truly wrong has happened. (And I have been both reported and complained about people, so it is not like I am above it.) I've seen some of my best friends leave but then I have made new ones.

I am really sorry to learn about Babs. Choosing today to blog her was a total coincidence.

Comment by Erin Young on July 21, 2015 at 7:38pm

:O oh no :( that's horrible. don't let one bad person ruin her time on iuoma. That makes me sad. She should just block that person. She has a lot more people who want her here. :)

Comment by Angelica Paez on July 21, 2015 at 7:32pm
Babs is a real person and she is my friend. She left because another member made her feel unwelcome.
Comment by Dean aka Artist in Seine on July 21, 2015 at 6:25pm

I'm not sure if Hoax is a name of a bird.  But she could have been an Invisible Rail.  (It's a bird from Asia.)

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 21, 2015 at 6:14pm

Dean I feel a day late (if not a dollar short) on Babs. I arrive (virtually that is) at IUOMA this morning w/ you, Tammy Riggins & others already noting the departure of Babs Bird. Look at the name! Was she a hoax? I tend to speculate about conspiracies. I won't do that.

She is actually very talented, IMHO.

And all these other under-appreciated artists: Who is this Erni Baer guy? ;) how soon they forget, eh? No, I don't think much in m-a lasts forever.

And I won't start a Babs Bird Fan Club, but I'd like to.

Comment by Dean aka Artist in Seine on July 21, 2015 at 5:24pm

So it looks like Babs Bird flew the coop, but your blogs will last forever.  Thanks for sharing this with us. 

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