Mail art by IUOMA member Jessica Manack (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
“who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,” – Allen Ginsberg, Howl
July 31, 2019 - Travel mail art, usually serial, usually issued as postcards from different locations on a journey, is a fascinating & fun correspondence art genre. I have documented this travel or “On the Road” mail art in the past. But I have not received much recently.
So I was thrilled to receive a perfect example (albeit one postcard) of travel mail art sent by dear postal friend Jessica Manack. (This also provides me with yet another occasion to include a beloved quote from Allen Ginsberg’s Howl that describes perfectly the travel mail art genre. Some of you are probably sick of it.)
“On the Road” mail art chronicles a journey & thus constructs a narrative. In the imaginative hands of correspondence artists, the story usually becomes much more than a record of places, landmarks & events (like what you ate for dinner).
Such work is often focused on the stream-of-consciousness process in the traveler’s mind rather than the exterior world. For example, Marie Wintzer did an extraordinary series of cards on a train trip across Japan that included her inmost thoughts & corresponding sketches of what she saw passing outside the train window.
The legendary Grigori Antonin (Minnesota, USA) issued cards describing a visit he supposedly made to Prague that in all likelihood never occurred. (Or maybe it did?) He carefully presented his views on tourist postcards of historic & cultural sites mixing fact & fiction in a most confusing way. He used various locations in Prague to reflect his views about other mail artists, among other musings.
Jessica Manack is known to many in the Eternal Network. As you might infer from her comments, she is a part of the group that works in & advances the spirit of Fluxus (aka Post-Fluxus, Neo-Fluxus). (Although her work is not limited to Fluxus!) Fluxus had a foundational role in the mail art network, especially in the 1960s & 70s & the tradition continues. Indeed, Jessica Manack has attended the annual FluxFest in the past & even met Diane Keys!
Deepest thanks to Jessica Manack!