SPECIAL MAIL-ART REPORT: Music Score by Cheryl Penn Inspired by Ruud Janssen's Fluxus Word ZALOP and Eduardo Cardoso's ZALOP Video (Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa)

"Zalop Concerto in No Particular Key" by IUOMA members Cheryl Penn (South Africa) inspired by a performance score and Fluxus word by Ruud Janssen (Netherlands) and ZALOP video by Eduardo Cardoso (Portugal).


February 22, 2011 - This is a case of mail-art "in the air" scooping mail-art "on the ground." I haven't received the hard copy of this yet, but Cheryl Penn's venture into musical composition is so noteworthy I had to blog it.


Most of the IUOMA members are aware of Cheryl's group for the study and advancement of Ruud Janssen's Fluxus word "ZALOP," given legs by the enthusiasm of visual poet Eduardo Cardoso of Portugal. Eduardo has already made a ZALOP video. Word has it that Cheryl is going to release a video of a ZALOP concerto performance, possibly with a percussion track by Eduardo (but you know the rumor mill.) 


For more info on Fluxus words see: http://fluxuswords.blogspot.com/


Cheryl's composition made me think about the kind of notation systems associated with Fluxus, Black Mountain, and other groups. Unfortunately, finding time to do real research is the monkey on my back. But here are some examples of musical scores that probably have have some relation to Cheryl's "ZALOP Concerto." First is a score by John Cage: 


All kinds of interesting notation systems have been devised for more experimental pieces that often require the performers to contribute significantly to the work. Being primarily interested in vispo, I cannot help but note these scores have visual elements. Next is a score by composer Morton Feldman written for abstract expressionist painter Wilhelm De Kooning:

I'm not stuck in the fifties and early sixties, I'm just reading a lot about that period right now. These scores are visually interesting, IMHO. Perhaps even more interesting is that in an e-mail from Cheryl Penn concerning the ZALOP concerto, she did not seem at all aware of these scoring systems. However, she is a musician in addition to being a visual artist. I could not help but see some similarities between what she is doing and what amounts to a long-standing tradition in the avant garde.


(For a really interesting discussion of original texts, as opposed to edited reprints, see:


Also included is info on recursion in Dutch chocolate advertisements - of interest to artists. You can catch the witty banter of the ubiquitous Ed Baker there too - a mainstay on the ruthless morning blogpo circuit. This team has been "on the air" for years, while the others come and go - a trusted brand for sure. They do vaguely tolerate the scruffy likes of us it seems. If you do take the leap, make sure to scroll down to "Transparent City" - total winner, IMHO) 


The whole history of musical scoring is fascinating but cannot possibly be explored here. Definitely these are "texts" too and often involve the mixing of a number of different artforms, such as the relation of language and poetry to musical scores. I think the truth of the matter is that the Zalop composition is derived from Cheryl Penn's work that is related to concrete poetry. Here's a good example:

Ruud Janssen's Fluxus words are part of a performance score he created. Cheryl Penn and Eduardo Cardoso are engaging with that score, so here is the original piece from a hard copy I have:

Iam definitely staying tuned to developments on the ZALOP front. 


IUOMA member David Stafford (New Mexico, USA) barely survived as Guest Mail-Art Psychic for 24 hours. Yet he managed to produced this great (parody) of an asemic writing magazine. It fits right in with this blog so I grabbed it from his portfolio:





I want to offer heartfelt apologies to all who suffered in the recent Mail-Art Psychic debacle. To provide reparations, those involved will receive an oil change coupon:



This is not about my extraordinary generosity. This is not even about whether you own or use a car. The "Oil Change and Lube" is a performance, life become art, and the coupon is your ticket to the fluXy show inspired by George Brecht's "Drip Music," usually done with water, but in the end we know it's always really about oil:

Views: 1274


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Comment by Eduardo Cardoso on October 16, 2013 at 9:37am

WOW! Zalop Concerto. I was supposed to record a video of me playing that on my drums. But I never did it. I never had the means to do it.

Maybe one day I can do it.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on February 25, 2011 at 8:52pm
TIC TAC, thanks for the video link. Love it! So perfect for the discussion. You're a gem.
Comment by Ptrzia (TICTAC) on February 25, 2011 at 4:26pm

i made a little performance video of the concept..stillness.in.motion


an intent somewhere at the left of nowhere, half way into the middle, hopefully very far from the end.


Comment by cheryl penn on February 25, 2011 at 3:19pm
TICTAC - yes.  The juxtaposition of opposites? That is the Beginning of Intent.
Comment by Ptrzia (TICTAC) on February 25, 2011 at 3:03pm
i agree with you Cheryl...life is beyond the lines. there is movement in stillness, loudness in silence...opposites have a lot in common.
Comment by cheryl penn on February 25, 2011 at 7:27am
I am CERTAIN there is visual music. Seen and Not Heard music. Real music.
Comment by De Villo Sloan on February 24, 2011 at 2:01pm

Katerina, great score you've added in this Music to be Seen and Not Heard thread. Kind of a "Blink" meets "The Thomas Crown Affair." Fits right in with Steve McQueen Biker Revival Week.


Another note: Alison Knowles (and Dick Higgins is not to be confused w/ the performance artist Dobro Dick) is still performing. I wonder if at the end of her shows they light matches and start chanting "nivea, nivea."

Comment by De Villo Sloan on February 23, 2011 at 10:59pm
a screaming crescendo climbing the scales. you r such a chameleon butt i guess i'll keep ya
Comment by cheryl penn on February 23, 2011 at 10:44pm
O MY WORD!! you're quick in tempo!!!!
Comment by De Villo Sloan on February 23, 2011 at 10:22pm
cp-sa we thought you had been attacked by lizards



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