The "Lost" Excavations Collages by liketelevisionsnow (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA) Collabs with Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany)

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Mail-art by IUOMA member liketelevisionsnow (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA) with work by Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany)

November 28, 2014 - Fave artist and mail-art friend liketelevisionsnow sent me a package of his beautiful collage work. This mailing is so exceedingly generous and amazing that I can scarcely think how to express my thanks adequately. Fortunately, I can keep the gushing to a minimum as there are back stories to relate I think will help contextualize this work by liketelevisionsnow (ltvs). The opening piece (above) is a gorgeous, original collage mounted on cardboard worthy of instant exhibition. Documentation is included on the back:

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In an accompanying message to me, ltvs wrote: “Thank you for writing the review of the ‘Glitches’ video. It was very well written and very much appreciated. I would like you to have this original collage entitled ‘Auto Suggestion’ as my way of thanking you.” You might recall I blogged news of the DK glitch art feature in the eminent of Redux: An International Magazine of the Arts:

This was a very exciting “Happening” for me to say the least, and I should be heaping ltvs with gifts for including the humble review in such an august publication and such a worthy feature on Diane Keys and glitch art. Regardless, I treasure this wonderful collage. And as if that were not enough, ltvs sent a truly remarkable publication:

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This beautifully produced “zine” (the term is used tentatively to describe a publication of this quality) contains 21 plates of a series of collages ltvs made for Svenja Wahl’s (Heidelberg, Germany) Excavations zine project. Here is my announcement of the launch of Svenja Wahl’s Excavations project from last summer. (Yes, now – technically – I am talking about a publication by ltvs and separate publications by Svenja Wahl, but they are closely related):

I will provide for you some representative excerpts from Excavations by ltvs as it is not my intention to reproduce the entire ltvs zine in digital form, but I do very much want to share the art with you:

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I have been able to reconstruct a backstory that provides insight into why and how this series was created. Svenja Wahl has asked each participating artist to mail her approximately 22-28 pages of original content for inclusion in issues of her Excavations zine. ltvs thus created these pieces and mailed them from New Hampshire to Germany. The situation, sadly, became MMM (More Mail-Art Melodrama). Alas, we gather that the hard copies were lost in the postal system. They did not arrive. MIA. Then it was a tragedy. Most artists can relate to the heartbreak and anxiety this would cause for all involved. BUT ltvs had the foresight to keep digital versions of the series (something we should all do always!). He turned near-tragedy into a remarkable project considerably enlarging Svenja Wahl’s Excavations concept.

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Collage by liketelevisionsnow (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA)

In his letter ltvs further explains: “I’m also sending a recent collection of my collages called ‘Excavations.’ The collages were done on printed copies of Svenja’s piece, which in German was also titled ‘autosuggestion.’ The Excavations were done for a zine that Svenja is working on at present.”

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Due in part to the collaborative nature of the work with Svenja Wahl and the ltvs sensibility, the series has a remarkable serial quality employing and at times working against repetition. Visual syntax is present creating (arguably) an ambiguous but clearly present narrative.

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Again, I deeply appreciate both the original collage and the Excavations publication sent by liketelevisionsnow. I hope I have given you an adequate view of this work without “letting the cat out of the bag” completely. Surely more work from the ltvs/Wahl series will surface elsewhere. We have issues of Svenja Wahl’s Excavations zine to look forward to as well.

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2014 at 12:45pm

And one more: Is there some difficulty mailing to Heidelberg from the USA (or elsewhere)?

It seems like it takes forever to get things to Svenja. In particular, her D-Kult D-Koder ring had all sorts of problems. I think one KDJ sent was lost. Another took an inordinate amount of time to arrive, if I recall.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2014 at 12:28pm

As for the report that the missing pages finally did arrive in Heidelberg - nothing like a happy ending! This has been a great mail-art saga with at least one important message: Back-up your work if you want to keep a record! This becomes more acute with books and zine projects when a single mailing might involve a large investment of time and effort. I am participating in Excavations too, so I can appreciate what it takes to produce 22 original pages and what if would feel like if the pages were lost.

So I posted all my Excavations pieces on MinXus-Lynxus, including rejects. Taking into consideration this publication by ltvs, Svenja's concept is inspiring spin-off projects beyond her zine. That's great! I would encourage others to expand their Excavations involvements as well.

Svenja, the point of all this is certainly not to make you feel terrible. You are doing really well, IMHO! Zines and collaborative books are a huge undertaking. Take your time; no one is counting. Excavations is inspiring people, and I think that is most important.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2014 at 12:14pm

NBS, liketelevisionsnow and Svenja, thank you for the thoughtful responses, updates and clarifications. Of great importance, I think, is the point that, as ltvs so clearly explains, the works posted are collabs between ltvs and Svenja. Svenja provided the foundational image that ltvs builds upon with all the fascinating variants. Here is a scan of the original. unaltered image by Svenja Wahl (courtesy of Svenja on FB):

Comment by Svenja Wahl on November 29, 2014 at 8:03am

Oh Guys, I feel terrible for not being ready with the zine - I have all the contributions for the first number, there are wonderful pages in it, I love your Autosuggestion-pages, LTS, AND NOW: I buried myself in my idea for the cover - But I'm REALLY determined to send the zine before christmas. New year, new zine number. Thank you both for taking part! and, Hi Nancy!!

Comment by liketelevisionsnow on November 29, 2014 at 4:17am

As the Mail Gods would have it, I must note that I received word from Svenja that the originals FINALLY made it to her post office box!

I should also mention that this was a collaborative piece sent to DeVillo. If you notice in the large collage "AutoSuggestion", you will see a printed piece which was a collage that Svenja had sent to me a few years ago for inclusion in a publication I produced called !DUH! Zine! Svenja's original was a torn magazine page written in German, the title of which was "Auto Suggestion". I used the idea of this to inspire the subsequent Excavation collages which I sent to her. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Excavation zine that she produces.

Also, I must clarify something. When Svenja told me that she had not received my original collages after a few months, I assumed she would never get them. That was the reason why I put together the collection that I did. I came to the conclusion that no one would ever see them in her zine and I wanted to publish a record of the jpgs that I had. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that the originals had finally arrived at her post box!

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on November 29, 2014 at 3:20am

Well, that really takes it. Not 1 piece lost in the mail, not 5, not 10, but 21. That's terrible luck, but clearly the situation was salvaged beautifully by liketelevisionsnow. His "Excavations" publication + plates look extremely wonderfulishistic (as Svenja might say). I see magic. Congratulations! And this is a great blog, DVS. 



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