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Mail Art Not War!



Monty Cantsin
December 19, 2003 10:11PM
Name: monty cantsin
Subject: confusing activity with accomplishment
Thu, Dec 18 2003 at 8:40 pm
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By Monty Cantsin
When did correspondence art become mail art? Correspondence implies an exchange between one address to another. A touching of two physical places between the out stretched hands of the post officer. Correspondence suggests interaction. Mail art is the shorthand statement for such.
Correspondence art is about communication. Correspondence art is about an exchange of ideas. Correspondence art is political because it's using the actual channels of institutional efficiency to send a message. The tentacles of the state can reach every nook and cranny as evidence of its omniscience. Correspondence art is turning this omniscience around by encouraging the exchange of nefarious, reprehensible and even unpopular ideas within the hidden confines of the envelope. The fact that society can deliver anything it wants anywhere, at anytime. This mode of efficiency can be harnessed and we can send ideas everywhere through the arms and instruments of the state. It is an invisible fifth column. It is a hidden advertisement beneath the catalogs, post-consumer recycled suggestions and bills.
But these are merely abstract, theological suggestions. What began as an interesting cultural activity has shifted into more wastepaper. I?m sick and tired of these monotonous add and pass on sheets I get in the mail. A naughty image of a woman, little rubber-stamps here and there, a few bloated, distorted colors and a plethora of addresses at the bottom. Why, I ask, am I supposed to add and pass this trash on? What does this say, what does this imply? That some people like getting grungy folded up sheets with a bunch of addresses on them? That democracy spawns bad taste? That activity is often confused with accomplishment? No response is certainly a response. A reply is not necessarily a response and a response is not necessarily a reply.
I stopped running from the post office to my desk to my own envelopes and back to the post office. I no longer feel the need to automatically respond. I write when I have something to communicate. Not that every time I communicate I have something to say. Nor every time I have something to say do I communicate. Brevity is about respect. Longwinded discourses are wrapped around the heads of adherents like damp towels to disguise heavy-handed breeding. Those clean enough to adhere to a mystical belief that all mail is good and only good mail is sent. I mean, after all, the postage was paid for, right?
I no longer race home and rip envelopes apart, checking to see how large my name is presented. Then I would quickly fold up some half baked occult oriented collages of my own, rubber stamp my name on the back (I own this, I own this thing) and I?d run back to the post office, merely for the pleasure of standing in line for a second time that day.
Rather than focus on the disconcerting tendencies of contemporary ?mailers?, fringe masturbating crypto-zoologists who shell out fifteen bucks for a rubber stamp and a wreath of stamps (?gimme the ones with tha bats, that?s pretty, ahem, dark?)? Instead of feeding into the doomsday book of crass finger pointing, I?m going to describe actions in which I currently engage. In which I currently pre-sent in the Present. Gedd it? Got me? A little good humorous truckin? there, huh?
I always put a personal note inside my envelopes. I always describe what?s going on with me. Especially if it?s a person I?ve never corresponded with before. I always drop in pertinent, personal details. I?m working here, I?m living here, I?m struggling with this concept, I?m considering this focus, I?m destroying my journals, I?m listening to African drum records and Byrds bootlegs, I?m watching Columbo everyday at noon while reading transcripts of LBJ?s White House tapes.
I include at least one piece of original work in every envelope. I very rarely keep anything. Most of the ?pieces? I receive I throw in another envelope to send off out into space. I do not keep my envelopes in file cabinets anymore. I have a huge box designated ?answered mail? and from known celebrity to non-celebrity it goes in the box. (Once a year I pick out selections I think will be someday ?valuable? and these go in the filing cabinet. Don?t worry your stuff is never in that category.)
The elaborate and minutely detailed list of all my sent mail was unceremoniously trashed with yesterday?s newspapers and coffee grinds. The lengthy summaries of the pseudo-contents along with the names and dates required hours to document. These sperm encrusted jottings took longer to compile than the alleged contents of the envelopes. I wasted an accumulation of months coordinating acronyms for my collages before listing what went where and to whom. I told myself it was to avoid duplication. Now I see it as an extension of my fragile ego. ?Oh I am such an important mail art artist that after my death a library will no doubt have a special comfy chair for a particular grad student to say, ?uhh Monty Cantsin wrote Bob Jones and sent him some ?flotsam?. What is flotsam? Is it a secret clue? A drug? A phone number?? If my correspondents get two similar envelopes it is up to them to deal with the incongruity and inconsistency.
Speaking of incongruity and inconsistency, I?d like to answer a question before it is asked. Monty Cantsin is alive and well. In spite of his open identity being claimed as his own by certain hunger artists, Monty Cantsin refuses to be silenced. Or rather, Monty Cantsin refuses to speak in secret codes and treaties. Monty Cantsin prefers to speak succinctly, casually and without shame. The open pop star remains open, especially to refute claims and counterclaims of a hermetically sealed universe. Every male and female correspondence artist is a Star. Correspondence is the Law, Correspondence under Will.
Dawn Amato
Re: statement
December 30, 2003 11:37PM
I am going to post on this but am still trying to organize my thoughts. This made me angry in some ways. Did it have the same effect on anybody else? How many agree with some or all of Monti's conclusions about mail art? How many see things a little differently, perhaps? What say you kind Sirs and Ladies fair or all others on this list? Did reading this make you think to stop this useless, pointless activity called "mail art"? Or maybe you just won't send HIM anything, anymore (if that's the way HE feels about it...huummph!!!)

Dawn Amato
karen elliott
ripping open envelopes
January 04, 2004 02:30AM
Correspondence is in the ripping of the envelope's beholder, my dear Monty. The opening//revealing experience may have been downgraded for you, but perhaps it still has many simultaneous meanings for multiple other Montys who still correspond, exchange, and reverberate.
I certainly wish you a rippingly good New Year//your pal//karen elliott
Dawn Amato
Re: statement
January 07, 2004 07:20PM
Who is this Monty person anyway and why does he insist on wearing that ridicules hat?

To archive or not to archive, that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler to...s759FF429leo**53

Historically speaking, archaeologist in two hundred years or more will praise the names of the mail artists that make a serious attempt to archive.

To do a time warp here...
Ruud's collection will have been found buried in a basement in Tilburg under tons of ruble and, sadly. in pieces and fragments...meanwhile rumors will abound among seekers that John Held's holdings may be hidden but relatively intact (buried in clay jars???) and Sztuka Fabryka's name will be bandied about along with honoria, Merlin, buzz blurr, dragonfly dream(the list here goes on but I've made my point)...WHAT DID IT ALL MEAN?....

Back to the present. Archiving may be a useless, egocentric endeavor as mail art itself may be and people who do it may be impotent drivelist unable to get "real" jobs or "real" recognition in the art field but it is what it is and people who do it ,for what ever reasons, are what they are and there is more to the heaven and earth of mail art then are dreamt of in your limited myopic, cynical assessment, Monty/ Horatio.

I rest my case.

If anybody has any questions I would be happy to elaborate.
I hope this isn't to confusing.

Dawn Amato
Hans Braum?ller
Re: statement
January 16, 2004 01:10AM

yes, i sometimes think similar, not because is it mail art, it is good.
Not because i do a painting is it art, not because i speak, i say something worth to remember.

Mostly i get by mail i try to recycle it and send out, because this collaborative forms of interaction i find most interesting in mail art.

At the end i believe is it not so important what you do, but how you do it. The mail artist as such don?t exist, we are coming all from very much different backgrounds and cultures trying to do some globalization from the roots and some of us dream that our interaction can help to build a better humanity through communication.


<a href="[braumueller.crosses.net">Hans] Braum?ller</a>
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