Moving on again

In the summertime I normally take a break from the networking. I am not the only one as it seems. A break from the hectic life does wonders.

But starting up again always needs that bit of extra energy. The pile of unanswered mail that has to be read, the cleaning up of the rooms, the starting up of a house is always a lot of work, and you then realize what you normally do every single day.

The first envelopes went out already. And also this month I plan to work on the new book to celebrate the 30 years of IUOMA. The title of the book has to be found. The editing is on its way. Selection of illustrations, then the proofreading, and then the launch and PR to get the book out there. Seems like a small undertaking, but will take a lot of days to finish this one of.

We are all getting older, but still, we move on until the end.

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The Secret Mail-Art network

With all the news about Mail-Art on the Internet, the social media, we often forget that there is still that secret mail-art network that isn’t visible.

I mean, the not digitized materials and experiences that aren’t documented and form the basic experience of Mail-Art. The decision to make a piece for someone, The placing of the postage, the putting in the mail of the piece and then realizing that your part is over and you can only wait for a reation (or no reaction at all).

In todays digital world, we publish the pieces, we send the image to the receiver, and we expect an answer…….?  But that was never the essence of mail-art. It is just what some consider to be mail-art too.

There are also the surprised. Someone found your address and sends you something without you ever have heard from that pesons. New ways are opened when you want it to happen (or not).

Mail-Art is supposed to be ‘guilt-free’, never expect an answer, never feel forced you have to reply. Only when you promis something (like in a project) keep your promis, just like in normal life.

Some people who discover Mal-Art on the Internet and start from there, they don’t realize that the mail-art network is essence was invisble for everybody exept sender and receiver. It is a very private network in which you can participate and explore the world on another level.

And believe me, this network still exists. Not all is on Internet, and there are massive archives of mail-art collections yet to be discovered.

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More mail comes in

The last weeks I get more mail-art in the P.O. Box then ususal. Not that i have been sending out a lot the last weeks, but somehow the network finds my address and wants to make a contact.

Off course it is fun to get in that mucg mail-art, but on the other hand I hardly have the time (nor finances) to answer all that mail. International mail (even a postcard) costs now almost 1,40 euro, and that is quite a lot compared to other things we buy.

So the times for mail-art are difficult. Only if you have money to spare you can send out a lot. All others have to limit themselves because you can only spend money once………..

‘Pataphysics

As a child you discover the world. When you reach 15-17 you can really start to research, but you don’t realy grasp all the connections. I know I loved art and poetry, but also the concepts of mathematics and physics.

So decided to study physics at the age of 17 and never regreted this step. Also combined it with mathematics, and somehow the whole computerscene and developements made it possible to do even more. So here we are, in the modern computer days where you can discover all you need if you learn to observe and make the right clicks.

Discovering ‘pataphysics is one of the findings. Suddenly you see the larger lines where science and logic don’t always bring what you were looking for.

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The research goes further and you discover the books, the websites, and the interest grows. As a networker you discover you are not alone, and the first contacts were made. And before you know it you are involved on a deaper level and see all the interconnections. The learning process really starts when you understand the concept. If you don’t, there is no logic to make the connections when you aren’t open and creative.

So it seems the start of IUOMA is also connected. You don’t have to be aware of the larger picture to be part of that larger picture. But in the end all fits togeher, and that is a wonderful thought.

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And the search continues and it is just a pity a life hasn’t enough years to make it even more complete, but tha larger line is that others find the same and move it further just another step. The essence of being creative is to add something to the things that already exist. That is something else then copying the things you find.

It isn’t always easy, but when you have started there isn’t even a stop or break. New things come every day, when you just observe and make new connections in the fascinating world.

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And indeed, the next step is to document what you discover and add something to it. Someone will find it and will move on with it. Also plenty of others that don’t get it. But that isn’t important. I am not writing things down for those.

The inter-connection of things is what is so fascinating for me. All is connected, even when we don’t see the logic behind it.

Ruud, May 20th 2017

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The TAM-Archive

Just got an e-mail from Klaus Groh (Germany). He has just moved and wanted me to have his new address. In the message he also mentioned he moved from 300 m2 to 90 m2, and I know what something like that means. The archive and books he has collected over the years have to be moved to new places and or collections to take care of them.

It is the problem of networkers that are active for a longer time. Where to leave the collection you build up when you have to move to a smaller place.

So I focus now on the TAM-Arcive. When I started with mail-art in 1980, I lived quite small in TIlburg, and the appartment was filled quite well. When I moved with my partner and wife to Breda, we build a larger place with Atelier and enough place to keep the acrhive of bith TAM and the Fluxus Heidelberg Archive.  But this won’t last for another 30 years. We will move on for sure and will have to think of what to do with the collections.

One part of the TAM-Archive already found a good home. All mail from Easter-Germany that I received in the 80-ies was sent to the Schwerin Museum in now united Germany. The Schwerin Museum lies in the former Easter-Germany, so I found it ideal to have the outlet of artists from then going back to the collection of a larger institute that treasures the history.

I do treasure the book collection. All kind of books and catalogs on the subjects of mail-art and Fluxus which are rare and not easily to be found elsewhere. Also I have a collection of lots of Artistamps that are bundled in albums.  The correspondence is a larger problem. Lots of boxes with unsorted mailings, boxed ones every few years yo keep it archived. The stampsheets of the TAM-Rubberstamp Archive, that were actually exhibited too in San Francisco (1996), Moscow (2004) and New York (2010).  The collection from Moscow never returned (another sad story), but the collection from New York did return after a struglle, and is now back in Breda. There is also the large collection of orriginal rubberstamps. Also own designs, eraser carved rubberstamos, and lots of donations from the network.

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Another large collection is the Mail-Inteview Project. Every correspondence with the interviewed persons is kept in a portfolio, and that is quite a treasure because the correspondence also meant exhanging questions, answers and artifacts to explain the whole idea. I have offered the collection to the MoMa, but they didn’t react yet. Maybe they will realize somewhere in the future they missed out on lots of correspondence with some old-times in the network where some of those already passed away (like Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Ray Johnson, Dick Higgins, and lots more interesting names).

So, after the e-mail from Klaus Groh I am triggered again to think of the fact that I will have to face the probem too, of where to go to with the collection. No hurry now. I have the space, and sometimes also send items for exhibitons, but a more permanent solution must be found. Also an essential part of networking.

Ruud, May 14th 2017.

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Networking Tips

  1. There is so much out there. You have to focus and filter the information you are actually looking for. It helps to make a list of what you want to do just before you enter the Internet. You might get lost when you don’t keep focus on what you intended to do.
  2. Don’t always work by the list. Sometimes you discover something that is exciting enough that would absorb you completely. Just save the details, en put it on the next list. When it still feels good, you are onto something new.
  3. Keep track of what you did. Make notes of settings (digital or paper) so you can rely on the details you need to find things back again.
  4. Don’t always use the same computer. It is good to work on other computers too so you have a clear head on the codes and URL’s you need to work on.
  5. Realize that nothing goes on forever. The websites, blogs and other socal media will change. And if you don´t backup your data, all might get lost one of these days. Even backup your backup and try to find something back in your backup (so you know it works).
  6. Work secure. Don’t mention essential private data on public places. Identity Fraud happens when you least expect it. When there are security mesures possible on the network you are on. Eplore them and use what is workable for you.
  7. When things are looking to good to be true, it is probably a hoax or a scam. Be alert when you think you hit the jackpot.

These are just some tips I tell my students too. Learn from your mistakes, and don’t make them twice.

Text or Visual

At a certain point in your life you know it for yourself. Either you are textual orientated, or visual orientated.  I knew quit early that the visual part was more important for me. It also means I rather make a scedule then write down words. I make documentations with graphics rather then lists of words. I still use a lot of words, but expressing emothions goes better with visuals.

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So visual connections are preferred too. I link images to other images and thoughts to images. Words are connected to images. When I give a definition of a word I try to explain what I see in the word. I visualize it and then tell people what I see.

The brain works differently for everybody. We don’t always realize that. We see things differently. Tests prove that when two people see the same thing but describe other stories.

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