In mail-art, the price of stamps is a small expenditure of a quantity of money that has no rational relation to the aesthetic value (information) that can be added to a stamp. A mail-artist can get more energy out of a stamp than an ordinary person mailing a letter can. The artist can use a stamp as an image that will combine with other parts of the mail-art, so that the stamp can enter the whole experience of mail-art differently from the indifferent use of stamps, or metered machines, in ordinary mail. Of course sometimes, case-by-case, not always, since many accidents occur at the cross-roads where mail-art intersects money. A stamp can cost twenty-three cents, but the witty deployment of the stamp might be priceless, as aesthetic gestures are.
...the profitlessness of mail-art has been an emancipation, a moment of economic truancy and mischief, as irrational as love.
Mail-artists have given a gift of experiences of gifts to other people, sometimes constructing those others into mail-artists. Having so often used what otherwise might be thrown away, mail-artists might want to think about values and experiences of gifts such as freedom from the marketplace, gifts which would be irreversibly and irretrievably thrown away. But if mail-artists are artists, they are elastic, so that no one can predict the shapes such shape-shifters might evolve.