(Part 1 of a 2-part series on work by Ruud Janssen)
May 20, 2011 - Fluxus words are in the air these days. Mail-artists are receiving interesting word creations from Ruud Janssen on beautiful hand-painted envelopes. I am thrilled to have received SPOLICE.
For several months, I have been writing about Fluxus words as a concept (click the flux-us tag at the bottom of this blog to find previous posts on this subject). SPOLICE has a personal meaning for me. Before I explain it, here is the note Ruud sent with SPOLICE:
A a great mail-art message - Ruud included some material for Ray Johnson fans like me. He mentions the mail-art generations enclosures. Those are the subject of this blog Part 2, which I will post tomorrow. Here's the reverse side of the note, a keeper that has earned a special place in the archives:
Ruud asks, "Who is/are the SPOLICE?" I am confident about an answer. I am sure the SPOLICE are the Sand Police - shadowy fictional characters who are part of another mail-art concept in the air these days: Sand Poetry or Sandpo.
Sandpo arose from the IUOMA Haptic Poetry group founded by Bifidus Jones (Minnesota, USA). Katerina Nikoltsou (Greece) created some very original mail-art using sandpaper. Marcela Peral (Argentina) launched her sand book project. Interest grew around the idea of using sand (a very broad definition) in mail-art. For instance, Marie Wintzer (Japan) mailed hardened sand in plastic bags to friends as a conceptual art piece.
A fictional arts movement has been created around the mail-artists working in Sandpo. This is part of the concept. As a result, stamps, manifestos, position papers, and letters are part of the mail-art being produced as part of Sandpo. While it might seem exclusive, of course anyone is welcome to participate.
I see the concept as a parody, exploration, and questioning of the idea of cultural movements. It is not surprising, then, that there would be SPOLICE - similar to Orwell's Thought Police - always present to monitor and approve or disapprove of artistic expression. The SPOLICE should not be viewed as positive but as a grim reality. Artists everywhere in the world live daily with constraints and threats to their freedom.
The SPOLICE also surely represent the wacky world of conspiracy theories, political intrigues, and disinformation that intersects with our lives in the strangest of places. Like many Fluxus words, the SPOLICE represent indeterminacy: We can ultimately neither confirm nor deny their existence with complete confidence, nor can we say with complete certainty who they are or what they represent - other than it is (and should always be considered) a bit of fun.
The concept behind Fluxus Words is that people give them meaning in the world. SPOLICE is a word I can integrate into mail-art projects and continue to broaden and deepen its meaning. Many thanks to Ruud Janssen for this very thoughtful mail-art!
As ever, stay tune to Ruud Janssen's excellent Fluxus Word blog: