Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review by De Villo Sloan - USA

Received: Fluxus word mail-art and performance score from Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

October 22 - Ruud Janssen has released a new mail-art series featuring Fluxus words on hand-painted envelopes. You can see other examples here at the IUOMA and elsewhere on mail-art blogs. These captured my interest as soon as they appeared because the creation of Fluxus words seemed to be such an intriguing process. Only I had no idea how they were created, what they meant, or how they were to be used. These questions were answered when I (carefully) opened the envelope and found among its contents a Fluxus performance score:

(Apologies: I just couldn't get this to scan straight.) A number of us at IUOMA, I'd have to call it, fool around with the idea of performance as it relates to mail-art. Ruud Janssen's "Fluxus Words" are part of a performance related project that has been going on for some time. Those at all familiar with Fluxus know the performance score is part of a tradition (?) genre (?) (although always in flux), going back decades and providing one of the points of continuity between the "old" Fluxus and the new. The performance scores I have seen tend to be, like Ruud's piece, very minimal - although there are also far more complex examples, especially when you cross over to musical compositions. This provides some tremendous advantages for the creator and the participants. Someone interested in creating a performance doesn't have to deal with the complex task of elaborate scripting and directions. Some I've seen use found language that in some way suggests an activity. This kind of score provides tremendous interpretive leeway for the "performers" and "audience" - put in quotes here because, of course, these traditional boundaries are usually eradicated in this medium. In some cases, the audience members simply are the performers and must decide what to do with the performance score. The various permutations and possibilities are limited only by our imaginations. (If you're interested in creating a performance score that might be produced and definitely will be shown and documented - see Jim Leftwich's event listing on the IUOMA board.) More about Fluxus words and a growing list can be found on Ruud Janssen's excellent blog:
Submit your own Fluxus word and participate in this very interesting and ongoing project!

My interpretation of Fluxus words is that they can be interjected into our everyday usage and become part of our shared language. People might eventually develop other uses for them too. I was thinking of Jackson Mac Low's poetry - akin to music by John Cage - that relies so much on chance operation word systems. Using the idea, I composed some bits of verse for IUOMA friends using Fluxus words - not meant for submission in the literary arena but only for some fun strictly among friends:

CHUP (NY School one-liner for Bifidus Jones)

Feop wuz sloj, seka.

(Bifidus - we have ascemic poetry, haptic poetry - there must be some precedent for invented or artificial languages - I'll check, but have you heard of this?)

MOI (haiku for Erni Bar)

Moi lefi pola
opsir fu. Moi kefi api. Psun
moi pola! Woisoh?

NOJ (Aram Saroyan variation for Marie Wintzer)


STAX (anaphora for Cheryl Penn)

Losi slax
Losi pasta zore
Losi gip eyeeye

SOO? (Olson variation for Jen Staggs)

Soo pelo. Soo lojo. Soo mulit. Soo undeming art.

This is just some experimenting, plugging into convenient forms and using randomness more than anything. I think the ultimate idea is to give definitions to the words, which might mean a Fluxus Lexicon. The point, I think, is to use them too. And to put the words together, is there a need for a Fluxus syntax? Fluxus seems to have created its own versions of a variety of things in life and art, so why not a Fluxus language? Just fascinating stuff to me.

Wonderful mail-art correspondence - many thanks.

(first published on IUOMA Network by De Villo Sloan, USA)

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