The new issue of "Flummox: A Journal of Extinction" is here! by David Stafford (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

David Stafford - 7.19.2015 - 1

Mail art by IUOMA member David Stafford (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

July 18, 2015 - Actually it is not a journal; it is a large postcard-size piece from David Stafford that looks like a journal cover. I am thrilled to receive mail from David. I learned through the grapevine he made a trip to New York City not long ago. Perhaps that excursion inspired him to make this commentary on the condition of the (post-) avant.

If I wrote that David Stafford is the unquestionable reigning king of mail art satire, I might offend the sensibilities of egalitarian networkers who do not believe such value judgments should be uttered or proposed.

FLUMMOX – A JOURNAL OF EXTINCTION addresses numerous publications, both online and off, that present what some call “intermedia” work, along with theoretical commentary. The overlaid letters on the image strongly suggest, of course, visual poetry aka vispo. FLUMMOX contains the word “flux,” so David Stafford has made a sweeping inventory ranging from vispo to Fluxus. These various iterations of the post-avant are currently fashionable in and outside the Eternal Network. Too bad he did not work Oulipo in there – that one is especially trendy! While Fluxus is part of history, it is certainly enjoying a revival.

As if FLUMMOX – A JOURNAL OF EXTINCTION were not enough, the reverse side has David Stafford’s wonderful drawing and more humor:

David Stafford - 7.19.2015 - 2

David Stafford always provides perspective, a dash of common sense and gales of laughter. As ever, many thanks!

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 20, 2015 at 3:34am

And remember we're talking about "Flummox: A Journal of Extinction." This was supposed to be light.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 20, 2015 at 12:47am

"Windmills" has a history here on the IUOMA platform. You might want to drop that one. You'll stir up some ghosts.

res, you wrote something interesting I missed the first time: "we're transitional artists between the past and future."

I've always, culturally speaking, had that curious feeling of being between two worlds. Something happened in the past and it's over and an intimation of something in the future that has not yet occurred.

I think that is just a curious phenomenon of existence and grasping the concept of past and future. For instance, with all this looking back to the 80s now, I am seeing that it was all very coherent and important things did happen. At the time it seemed chaotic and no one was doing anything of value, anywhere. A thing Fluxus does teach is being centered in the present (from Buddhism, no doubt). And that's good advice. What we're doing has meaning and coherence. We just can't identify it in the seeming confusion of the moment.

And well, the digital is intermedia - the way mail art is on the web and in the mailbox is intermedia. Contrary to the dire predictions, it seems to be working well.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 19, 2015 at 11:53pm

Richard, I agree that we are fortunate to have someone like David Stafford who can step back and offer some perspective on our mail art pursuits. For one, I have always found Fluxus to be hysterical - at least on one level. Nam June Paik has spoken, for one, about Fluxus being a joke and people purposely trying to make bad art. Billie Maciunas in the recent George Maciunas documentary speaks about how funny it was. Humor - as I know you know, Richard - is a very powerful weapon. I always look forward to David Stafford's views.

You know I follow Tom Clark's blog and he wrote about how, in his capacity as Paris Review Poetry Editor, he held an event in NYC playing tapes of an interview with Jack Kerouac. This was probably close to Kerouac's death in the late 60s. As TC describes it, Warhol and all the factory people attended and sat dutifully and somberly through the event. Most of the Kerouac tape had a lot of laughing, joking, howling (no pun intended) but the Warhol people were just dour. I've always thought TC was providing a little parable about the difference between the two camps and this terminal seriousness that exists (still today) in sectors of the art world.

Another great link, res. You and David remind us that Fluxus and mail art are intertwined. Most of the mail artists I know - I've seen it on the IUOMA site a few times over the years - refer to Dick Higgins' intermedia chart from 1995 (?). Maybe it equates to the idea of cross-disciplinary or interdisciplinary. I certainly know it from these strange literary forms that thrive in the network like visual poetry, haptic poetry (poetry you can touch or smell), asemic writing (writing that has no semantic meaning), concrete poetry, etc. etc.

Among other things, Dick Higgins was a big mail art guy. I can remember when he was active. (Sadly he's deceased now.) His Something Else Press was very important.  

I know the Higgins intermedia chart is in the link you posted, but I'll place a copy here as well:

Comment by Richard Canard on July 19, 2015 at 4:50pm

19.07.15 Dare De Villo S.,  ...I always admire the manner in which Mister David Stafford's head works....Thanx for posting, posting  & posting. Best to you, Richard C.

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