Moan Lisa Unplugged (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)

Moan Lisa - 5.17.2014 - 1

Mail-art by IUOMA member Moan Lisa (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)

May 17, 2014 - Moan Lisa is a prolific and ever-changing mail-artist; and as a result, I am assembling a large and diverse collection in the MinXus USA Archives. I am sharing this piece because it reveals an undigital and back-to-basics perspective on our ingenious Iowa friend.

Moan Lisa - 5.17.2014 - 2

All the pages in this envelopes use lists and erasure (or crossing out). The main document is a list of songs and bands:

Moan Lisa - 5.17.2014 - 3

Trashpoets are familiar with the use of lists (shopping lists in particular) as poetry: listpo. Moan Lisa is a listpo master/mistress in this correspondence.

Moan Lisa - 5.17.2014 - 4

The work documents a particular moment in popcult, filtered through the perceptions of Moan Lisa.

Moan Lisa - 5.17.2014 - 5

Moan Lisa is deeply influenced by Fluxus and is making innovations in the spirit of Fluxus. Yet there is always something deeply personal and self-revealing in Moan’s work that is more akin to confessional poetry and abstract expressionism. I once described the work of Karen Champlin (Illinois, USA) as “confessional vispo,” and much of Moan Lisa’s work fits this description as well.

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Fluxus – with its emphasis on materiality, chance operations and minimalism – can be mechanistic, non-expressive and even sterile. (Although a look at lesser-known publications by Dick Higgins’ Something Else Press shows that the Old Fluxus was far more eclectic than current institutional assessments admit.)  The same non-emo impulse appears later in Langpo and now Conceptual Writing with its “against expression” dictum. Moan Lisa employs many of the strategies used by these group but stands, from our view, apart from them. There is a desire to communicate experience without repression or filters.

Moan Lisa - 5.17.2014 - 7

I can always count on Moan Lisa to send compelling and unexpected mail-art. As ever, deepest thanks!

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on May 18, 2014 at 5:22am

For sure, NBS. Another version of this is doing well on FB & Google+ with some commentary by Moan. This came from the thick of Moan's divorce, which he made into a kind of online performance. The song list was intended for Amanda, but I've ended up with the only copy somehow. You can feel the pain in it; it's deeply expressive.

In fact, in the 60s or 70s one of the Fluxus people - Geoffrey Hendricks (?) - did a Fluxus divorce performance, which was real and centered around the signing of legal papers. It's a painful, serious thing. You have to admire the artists dealing with it directly & sharing it, IMHO.

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on May 17, 2014 at 8:30pm

It's raw and honest and enigmatic. Gripping mail art.

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