Mail-art by IUOMA member Ficus strangulensis (Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
November 23, 2010 - A second missive arrived last week from new-old friend Ficus strangulensis, Panjandrum of Blochistan, Fertilizer of The One Tree. Since joining the IUOMA last summer, I have sought to engage him in hopes of obtaining some specimens of his current investigations, especially hopeful for some recent samples of his "cut-up" work. In a previous blog, I attempted to explain Ficus's art by comparing him to The Exterminator. In truth, Ficus strangulensis is post-Burroughs, having exquisitely refined certain discoveries first stumbled upon by the author of The Naked Lunch aka William Lee if you are following me down this Place of Dead Roads. Ficus is something that came next but in the same territory, more or less. Certain variables in the original equation have been altered. Ficus's note clarifies his current situation; same as the last:
Ah yes, the Perfect Score to which we all aspire. The context for this is that I sent Ficus strangulensis a copy of my first book: Ourang-Outang. The publisher, I believe, is a mutual acquaintance. The note reminded me of the influential TRANSMOG.(I knew the work of Ficus; I knew TRANSMOG. I didn't know Ficus=TRANSMOG - go figure). He also included a copy of "In the Fishtank" with writing by Paul Weiman and collages and drawing by Harold Dinkel (see below). Of course, I'm disappointed that the cut-up factory is on hiatus; but I am reasonably sure, from work I've seen elsewhere that Ficus is engaged with other vispoets collaborating, digitalizing, and recycling earlier work - notably with John and Mehrl Bennett. Ficus is exercising his right to bear and use firearms with expected ingenuity - another freedom Burroughs also cherished. A version of the spreadsheet (above) was also included in the first communication. It now dawns on me that - being a scientist - Ficus is keeping an extended record of work and correspondence he sends and receives. This might well prove to be, in the future, along with his archives, impressive documentation. Here is the back cover of the Weiman/Dinkel piece, bound with black duct tape:
On the back of Ficus's note to me, was a curious piece of found text: A description of a medicine called FLUoXetine. Equally described are benefits and side effects and the always wise advice to consult a physician. A statement of sorts? Or a bit of randomness? Such is the genius of Ficus strangulensis.
Here are two concrete poems from my book "Ourang-Outang" I sent to Ficus strangulensis:
Mail-art color of the day: chartreuse (TYJL)
Mail-art word for the day: simulacra