honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

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"New Dementia for Mail Art" by Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson posted a fabulous essay on mail art values/money on the www.crosses.net message board. The thread is called "new dimensions for mail art" dated 2/7/2003. Here are a few gems:

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.

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