Lost Classic by Ficus strangulensis (Charleston, West Virginia, USA)

fic - 1.13.2015 - 1

Mail art by IUOMA member Ficus strangulensis (Charleston, West Virginia, USA)

January 13, 2015 - In 2012 acclaimed otherstream writer and artist Ficus strangulensis participated in a mail-art project involving collaborations with Diane Keys (USA), Marie Wintzer (Japan) and me. The project had visual poetry and performance components. In short, Ficus strangulensis composed what he termed “shotpo” by using work sent him by the participants for rifle target practice in his basement. (He is a skilled marksman.) Results were documented:



A more permanent record can be found in Vessels of Love, a book by Diane Keys published by MinXus-Lynxus:


In this blog, I am pleased to document at long last another artifact from the Ficus strangulensis shotpo project (see top scan). This is the text of a Shakespeare sonnet formatted as a target and mailed to Ficus strangulensis by me along with other project documents already mentioned. The shotpo was returned in an envelope with this message:

Fike - 1.13.2015 - 2

As an update to the notorious shotpo project, I am also pleased to share with you an ascemicized remix of the shotpo sonnet I made:

fike 1.131

“Shakespearean Homage to Philip K. Dick – A Sonnet” by Ficus strangulensis & De Villo Sloan

I am very happy to be able to make this lost classic available, and many thanks to Fike for his participation in the shotpo project.

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on January 15, 2015 at 1:40pm

Here is documentation of the "Danger Music" score by Dick Higgins. Higgins recruited NY or NJ police snipers to do the shooting under controlled conditions, if I recall.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on January 15, 2015 at 3:20am

Thanks, Linda. The shotpo project was a complete riot. Links in the blog take you to further documentation. The Shakespeare piece is something that has taken me forever to post.

Composition with firearms is not unknown in our neck of the artistic woods. William S. Burroughs used paint-filled shotgun shells to make paintings. Dick Higgins, a Fluxus artist and mail-artist, composed music using rifles to score blank music sheets. The pieces were performed by an orchestra.

Fike, too, is a very interesting and talented guy I first encountered during the Age of Zines and have been a fan ever since. He edited a zine called Transmog, definitely a classic, great to peruse if you can find a copy.

Comment by Linda French on January 15, 2015 at 2:57am

Oh Fike! Is that the shot holes from a Berretta 12 gauge over-under that I see on the Shakespeare target? Or would those be clustered closer together?  No, I read the accompanying information and you've made the shot holes with a variety of guns. Truly, I laughed again when I saw it. I will interpret it my own way: "Move over, Bill, it's time to hear from Fike again." I love shotpo. I also like to shoot. Distance rifle and close range handgun.

Another thing: often when something makes me laugh, it's not that it's funny so much as it is that I am experiencing delight. Happiness, You know? Not derision or scorn or a comedic joke. Although those things sometimes make me laugh, too.   Your work makes me giggle. With delight.  --LInda



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