Mail-art by IUOMA member Samuel Montalvetti (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
March 3, 2011 - The monumental Project 26 - with mail-artists across the globe producing chapters for a collaborative based on letters of the alphabet - is drawing to a close. Samuel Montalvetti's Chapter Y arrived in New York recently. Above is the opening page along with a Fluxus stamp Samuel included. Samuel is an accomplished visual poet and he chose to remain very elemental in this chapter:
Like a minimal concrete poem extended across the pages, this is an exploration of the visual elements of Y. The left-hand page above is a collage. For me, placement of the y imperfectly on the lines (as on lined paper), indicates dislocation, the idea we are meant to read this in different way:
The centerfold uses an image of a typewriter I have seen elsewhere in Samuel Montalvetti's work. He draws our attention to the different ways y is represented on the page: handwriting, the industrial-age factory-like repetition of identical images through type, and the overwhelming diversity of letter shapes available through technology. They all have distinct visual qualities, advantages and disadvantages; do these different modes change our perception of language? Do they interject meanings we do not often consciously consider when we encounter them?
The two pages above are my personal favorites. On the left is a variation on and a deepening of the of the earlier collage. The right-hand page has the wonderful up-side-down y that is morphing into a glyph of a person, and I am not even taking into account here the subtle explorations of Spanish-language aspects of y Samuel is surely also presenting. There is definitely a linear progression through the pages. Samuel Montalvetti is producing many fascinating vispo video. I think you can really see the influence of that work on these pages. Here is the final page with a "discontinued" emblem:
All in all, a wonderful and creative contribution to Project 26. These days I am often thinking about the relationship of the poem on the page to the spoken word. When considering Samuel Montalvetti's Y, I wonder how someone might approach it as a piece to be read aloud or even as a performance score? He also does great envelopes:
As ever, many thanks Samuel! Latin America is INCREDIBLY rich in vispo. I have barely scratched the surface. Samuel Montalvetti's blog is a great place to see the best in mail-art as well as visual poetry: