Mail-Art in the Digital World

The concept of Mail-Art has changed since the digital influences came. The old network slowly explored the digital worlds. Tried out BBS. Tried out the first websites. Then the blogs came and were succeeded by the social media. And at that time the digital communication took the lead.

We see the consequences with the mail. less mail means higher rates. less mail means communications now goes digital. And Mail-artists aren’t going from Analog to digital. They now discover on the Digital world that there used to be an analog network, and they are exploring that after being on the digital network.

I called that the 6th generation of mail-artists in one of my statements. (see: and they are now slowly moving in at the analog network. The old generation is still there and a curious interaction is taking place right now.

With the high postal rates I don’t send out that much anymore. Only specific envelopes to specific persons, and now and then a batch of envelopes into the network to keep the juices flowing. But when I send something out, it should be something special. An acrylic painted envelope, a contribution to a project, or lately even a complete parcel with 3 books and a set of mail-interview booklets for a library in Liverpool (UK).

The paperwork is still essential in my life. I make drawings on paper, print archival materials on paper. But since decades I also archive all digital stuff. That last part is the largest archive. On 2 TByte disks you can place complete libraries and collections of images. But touching things with your hands, feel structures, smell how paper and paint touch your senses. That isn’t there in the digital worlds.

The last decades are fascinating. The new generation that grew up with computers and hardly write things down on paper are deciding on how the world will change.

Ruud Janssen, April 5th 2017



One thought on “Mail-Art in the Digital World

  1. I went through a phase where I wrote my poems by typewriter, but I found that I gained nothing special through that experience but sore fingers and a sloppy work. I do paint, but I don’t put any greater stock in that over my digital works. And others seem to value the digital works more than the paintings, saying the latter are novice. It’s an interesting discussion, and I think we all take our own sides in the matter.


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