honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

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Mail art evolution

There is a discussion of the history of mail art on Merlin's board at www.crosses.net. People are discussion pre-Ray Johnson artists use of the mails. At some points a group that makes up and art movement shifts its focus and becomes a new art movement when later named by the art historians but until then the artists are responding to impressions, passions, experimentations in their own and in parallel groups of art explorers. The following is me quoting myself in my own blog in the true reflective academic style from my post in the discussion on Merlin's board.

Artists generate ideas and art movements in relation to each other. Art movements are based on artists communicating and developing ideas that resonate and grow within the context of their group, for example, the impressionists explored light, the surrealists explored the unconcious.

Mail artists explore the mail systems as their focus. Many other movements and artists used mail to exchange ideas, but mail and postal delivery to form a network wasn't the main focus of other art movement who did also mail art. Ray Johnson used the mail as a central point of exploring the give and take of the path of art and ideas through systems of people connected through him. I believe Ray Johnson was the first self-defined central node in a system that grew to become the thousands of networked nodes (mail artists), each of them central to their own network experiences. The first correspondents gradually built out their own interconnected nets and here we are.

Now that the rules of mail art have been in practice for decades, new systems of distribution through electronic networks have caused us to question those rules and methods. Perhaps it is a good time to examine what still works, and redefine possible new directions for the eternal network. I believe this examination is already happening on several of our message boards at once as well as in congresses that will address issues of electronic networking this spring and summer.

What is important to continue in the name of mail art?
What should change and evolve?

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