MAIL-ART – ANALOG BLOGGING OF THE 20TH CENTURY


Postcard by Artistampex, Canada

Photocollage on postcard by Clemente Padin, Uruguay

Art stamps by Pat Fish, U.S.A.

People think today that everything is so much better and unique today with all this technical progress and the digital virtual world. But people managed to live quite well with analog techniques in former times, and even blogging did exist long time before in the 20th century (and till today) by using simply the old international postal system which till today connects the world.

Creative people following the ideas of fluxus formed in the last century an international mail-art network of artists for collaboration, inspiration and support beyound the commercial and institutionalized forms of visual art. And I have been part of the same in the 80s of the last century such leading to a lot of nice and unexpected surprises when going early in the morning to my letter-box.

Mixed technique postcard, Jorge Orta, Argentina

Serigraph on postcard by Ryosuke Cohen, Japan

Stamp-art on envelope by Matty Jankowski, U.S.A.

Especially for creative people in the East-European countries this communication was very important and vital before the political changes of 1989 and the years to follow. But also for all others this was an appreciated independent and free gate to the wide world. The collaboration in this network comprised also real projects and challenges like in the blogosphere today.

Very common were mail-art object magazine where for each edition people could send 100 copies or pieces or originals, etc. in a special size, the editor would then compile the diverse entries to 100 diverse mail-art object magazines, and afterwards each participant would receive one copy of this back home by the post.

Other forms of collaboration in this sector are wandering changing art objects (more on this in a future post), and mail-art shows with special topics where each entry from the diverse countries will in any case be presented in the show whereever (living-room, institutions, public showcase and today also in the internet or blogs) followed by some kind of documentation for each of the participating persons (poster, brochure, small catalogue, etc.).

“I know nothing than art”, postcard by Robert Rehfeldt, Germany

Quarterly published mailart object-magazine by Vittore Baroni, Italy

Stamp-art on envelope by H. R. Fricker, Switzerland

This kind of mutual international exchange follows of course another velocity than the contemporary digital world, but movements like slow cities or slow food proove that not everybody is happy about the recent virtual developments which have happened mainly in the last 2 decades. So, here you see some pure analog artistic stuff like beautiful postcards and envelopes, varied stamp-art and inspiring objects which reached  me via the international postal services.

Mail art object by Géza Perneczky, Germany/Hungary

Collage/Copyart on postcard by Richard Meade, U.S.A.

Postcard by Juliana Hellmundt, Germany

The last piece shown here at the very end is really a quite robust-crazy object from my archive brought to me by a postman, a simple red brick with the inscription Einstein standing for both a stone and the famous physician. The brick was delivered by the post unpacked as a parcel, on the backside of the brick my name and adress were also inscripted reminding a little bit to petroglyphs from ancient times.

Information on actual mail-art of today and present times can be found in the blog-links hereunder:

http://mailartprojects.blogspot.com/?m=1

https://julianahellmundt.wordpress.com/

http://iuoma-network.ning.com/m?id=2496677%3AMobilePage%3A1032481

 

 

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9 thoughts on “MAIL-ART – ANALOG BLOGGING OF THE 20TH CENTURY

  1. What a pleasure to be included. I was devoted to MailArt for a decade, then quit in 1984 when I decided to learn to tattoo. There simply were not enough hours in the day to do both. My extensive archive of all those years of Correspondence is now at my alma mater the University of California at Santa Barbara library special collections. I am proud of what we did, setting up collaborative communication across international borders. This image is hand-made marbled paper perforated to be used as stamps.

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    • Great to hear from you again after some decades have passed by meanwhile. But your work here is really from summer 1986, it bears also the note “I had help producing it from Jürgen O. Olbrich, Buz Blurr and Craig Hill.” So this collaborative piece really a very nice example of networking of those days. Thanks for your feedback very much and take care!

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  2. Had no idea about this at all. Very interesting. It must have been so fulfilling to receive these as solid objects in your post box. All the digital stuff we have today cannot replicate the impact of that feeling I am sure. The Einstein thing was a real brick? I hope my understanding is correct. It’s beautiful.

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    • I am glad you like this and as a child of the analog world this kind of expression more real and familiar for me although seemingly oldfashioned today. The virtual world very practical indeed, but with a more imaginary attitude which may also lead to some kind of digital dementia. And yes this is a real brick on the back side my name and adress was inscripted before burning so the postman would knew where to go because it was posted to me like shown. A nice, crazy and fascinating piece of memory.

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      • I don’t think it is old fashioned, as many including me love, enjoy, and feel more at ease the ‘real’. The virtual and digital world does have its benefits but has limitations as well just as the real world. We need to draw those lines and balance these. The brick thing is indeed very very unique.

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