zaterdag 29 september 2007

Thank you posting for Roland Halbritter: "Nobody ready for diving wearing exclusive Fluxus under water glasses" - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

Nobody's big glasses for anybody who needs them - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

Nobody's funny nose glasses

Nobody's horse selfportrait by learning the Fluxus rabbit land alphabet

Of course Nobody's horse has to learn all
the letters of the Fluxus rabbit land alphabet.
Because the letters are so small,
the horse needs glases.

Nobody's Fluxus rabbit land - visual poem by Litsa Spathi - Versio # 2

In the Fluxus rabbitland - the home country of Nobody -
is a rabbit rery active. Here you see the result

Nobody's Fluxus rabbit land - visual poem by Litsa Spathi - Versio # 1

In the Fluxus rabbitland - the home country of Nobody -
is a rabbit rery active. Here you see the result

Row/raw painted envelope + digital intervention- phase #5 - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

Row/raw painted envelope + digital intervention- phase #4 - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

Row/raw painted envelope + digital intervention- phase #3 - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

Row/raw painted envelope + digital intervention- phase #2 - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

vrijdag 28 september 2007


Deep Fluxus

Nobody's 4 -Season -Selfportrait ../.. a visual poem by Litsa Spathi for Nobody

In front of the mirror. The photografer alone .
His camera. Works.Today is a day for smiles said Nobody.
Hi, phoned Litsa Spathi and said:
Loverleman plays games with Light and fire.
And she remembers Luc. He said strong things once :
No, I do not want to be a Nobody -
but Somebody" by the way
who wants to be a Nobody? he cried .
And all the other boys on the other fluflist
had understood
and they
were laughing
laughing ...
ha & ha & ha

dinsdag 25 september 2007

Ups eXpress - navigation poem by Nobody

Lover's map - a visual navigation poem by Litsa Spathi dedicated to Mrs Brimmette

== ..............................................................................==b++++...........
NObOdy +++prOudly ==
gibt bekannt:
Mrs Brimette... )( back ,back
baa)(aaaa)(aaaa)(ack & again
with us ,
she didn't forget her Nobodies,noo noO no
O no no no no+_)+_)+_)(+_)+_)(// .
Litsa Spathi is nOw very happy
& that's the reason fOr this
lOver's map navigatiOn pOem :
Mrs Brimette,+++ i hOpe you
never ever pote
pleOn will
tha fOrget ksehasis anymoOore
your hat

Doing the dishes -Fluxus Performance

Sorry ------=0=0=0=
0=0=my reaction
*""*"*is so late because
i first had to+^+^+^+^+^
^+^+^+^+^+^+ do this

Answer for Saskia - navigation system answer poem by Litsa Spathi

deAr ^+^+^+^+^+Saskia'.'.'.'.'. here is my ^_^_^_apology...for causing =o=o=o=o=o=oyou bAd+O+O+O+O+O+O
dreams. My .. [.."fluXus navigation system .. ] .. ansWer will help
you=-=-=-=-=-=- and='='='='= protect'=/=/=/=/= you like ][
with best wishes..... & ...........groetjes

Navigation system by Fluxlist Europe - Variation # 6 by Litsa Spathi

Navigation system by Fluxlist Europe - Variation # 5

Navigation system by Fluxlist Europe - Variation # 4

Navigation system by Fluxlist Europe - Variation # 3 by Litsa Spathi

Time machine greetings

Security notice for a cup of coffee on a happy sunday evening ---- visual poem by Litsa Spathi for Johanna

Securiy notice for sunday mornings - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

Saturday security notice in black, yellow and red - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

Andreas Hofer = 3X a her0 - visual poem by Litsa Spathi

maandag 24 september 2007

woensdag 12 september 2007

Interview with Alison Knowles by Ruud Janssen

The Interview with Alison Knowles by Ruud Janssen

(question sent on 5-4-2006 by e-mail)

Ruud Janssen : Welcome to the interview. Before I start with an interview I always like to read through the biography of the person I am interviewing. Looking at such a career in Art I always wonder, do you still remember when you decided you wanted to be an artist?

(answer on 5-4-2006 by e-mail)

Alison Knowles : Yes, I remember well when I decided to be an artist. It was when my grandmother addressed me as one. She looked at my pencil drawing of an osprey's nest built in the cross wires of a telephone pole and hung it over the piano. I was six, maybe seven years old.

(question sent on 6-4-2006 by e-mail)

RJ : You graduated in 1954 from Pratt University. Looking back at this study, what did you learn there, or maybe a better question is: what didn’t you learn there?

(answer on 11-4-2006 by e-mail)

AK : My graduation from Pratt Institute was in 1956. I had transferred from Middlebury College in Vermont. Because my father was an English professor at Pratt I was able to enroll at no expense in the Art Department

In the nightschool for three years I was able to study painting with Adolph Gottlieb a recognized abstract impressionist at the time. He said very little to anyone, but spoke directly in front of the work to each person so it was a personal critical dialogue about art with each one of us. He made me feel I could be a great painter. at the time I intensely admired Helen Frankenthal, and had acquaintance with the work of Pollock.
Franz Kline also taught in the class from time to time. During the day I studied graphic design and commercial layout. My best class in the dayschool was with the painter Richard Lindner. He was a philosopher and dedicated his thoughts to areas outside painting. We had discussions as a group. We also had an hour to draw together. His concentration drawing technique is really a mediation on time . We would draw for five minutes as slowly as possible with pencil on the paper, not taking our eyes off the subject. We began the class each week in this way. I learned very much from him and use this drawing technique with students today. What I learned there was that I am artist. What I should have learned there was that I am not a painter. However, in those days all artists were painterd.

(question sent on 13-4-2006 by e-mail)

RJ : In a text I read: “Alison Knowles is a conceptual artist doing performance art, installations, sound art and bookmaking”. Quite a variety and definitely no mentioning of painting. It seems that after your formal education some informal education took place. Is this somehow connected to the “New York Mycological Society”[1] ?

(answer on 13-4-2006 by e-mail)

AK : Oh yes, the mycological Society was led by John Cage, who along with my father is my teacher. We went on Sunday walks in Upstate New York near where John lived. We went by bus, Dick Higgins my husband and myself to spend time in the woods together, studying mushrooms and having the time while walking to talk to one another. I find walking together to be the best way to exchange ideas. John was always willing to talk to people proposing an idea or observation. We all became acquaintances and then friends. I knew of John through the New School course he gave in the late 50's and was eager to have some of that wisdom and daring rub off on me. As for painting, my attentions dwindled after a show at the Nonegon Gallery on 2nd Ave. in New York. My diverting to the New School class was gentle and then abrupt. I destroyed all my paintings in a bonfire behind my brothers country house. This is slightly distressing to me now, as they would be easily marketable in Italy.

However, this act of destruction on my part led me directly into the Fluxus family of friends and as I say, connections to the New School and George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Al Hansen and Allan Kaprov, among others. On our first Fluxus tour in '62 I began to write performance events. But perhaps that is another question.

(question sent on 21-4-2006 by e-mail)

RJ : When did you meet Dick Higgins for the first time?

(answer on 21-4-2006 by e-mail)

AK : I was invited to a party at 84 Christopher Street by a friend Dorothy Podber [2] and our friend Ray Johnson. It was Dick's apartment. I stayed for three days.

(question sent on 24-4-2006 by e-mail)

RJ : You talked in your previous answer about “the Fluxus family of friends”. When was the word “Fluxus” first used in this circle of friends?

(answer on 25-4-2006 by e-mail)

AK : These friends who did concerts together performed under the banner Fluxus. Simultaneously I would say we felt like friends rather than say a group of actors doing a play together. The term family may be my own invention but I like it. No way to put a date on this, but early on.

(question sent on 24-4-2006 by e-mail)

RJ : The term family is also an indication of how these times must have felt. It is interesting that Ray Johnson also belonged to this circle of friends. Some say he also belongs to the group of Fluxus people but I also read somewhere that Ray never considered himself a “Fluxus artist”. How do you see this?

(answer on 27-4-2006 by e-mail)

AK : Ray Johnson was a mail artist, and founded the Correspondence School.
He never travelled with us, or wrote pieces for performance that we could use. I have many memories of his work, always absurd and interactive.

(question sent on 27-4-2006 by e-mail)

RJ : Could you describe one of your favourite performances of the early days. If possible I will publish the original score with this interview. But I am more curious on how you think back of the piece you choose.

(answer on 28-4-2006 by e-mail, booklets on 6-5-2006 by regular mail)

AK : like "shuffle[3]" alot. It presents the group as a group entering andleaving the hall in a snake-like conga line. I would like to send youmy pamphlet of early pieces called By Alison Knowles. It lists theevent scores from this period. Please give me your mailing address.

(On 6-5-2005 I received two booklets by mail. The first booklet: “by Alison Knowles”, 1965, A great Bear Pamphlet - New York. It contains a listing of 17 scores written by her. The second booklet: “MORE by Alison Knowles”, 1979 2nd Edition, Printed Editions New York. “These pieces in MORE are the writings, spoken parts, poems and events from my environments of the 1970’s. Given the opportunity to reprint MORE, I decided to leave out several of the shorter pieces in the first edition to make room for Three New Bean Events, The Shoemaker’s Assistant, and Bean see also Bein. The collage preface that follows was made by Philip Corner.” As a reaction I sent her some samples of previous mail-interviews that I published.)

(question sent on 6-5-2006 by e-mail, booklets on 7-5-2006 by regular mail)

RJ : Thanks for sending me the two booklets. I also looked on the Internet to find details about the performance “Shuffle”. Online one only finds fragments of what it must have been. On you own site (url: also a lot can be found on what you did. A booklet fits more to the times these first scores were performed. I probably will use the booklets as illustrations for the finished interview. As I read in your biography you came in contact with computers in an early stage. I quote:

“In 1967, Knowles produced The House of Dust poem, possibly the first computerized poem, which she produced with composer James Tenney following his informal seminar on computers in the arts held at her home with husband Dick Higgins in 1967”.

What does a computer mean to you nowadays?

(answer on 8-5-2006 by e-mail)
AK : Nowadays I use the computer for daily email contact and to sometimes send a picture for card or publication. I don't use it every day, and I am not a computer adept but it is a great tool we all agree. I do not use it to do artwork however. All my work seems to be tactile, touchable and musical sometimes (the beans falling down inside the paper) or performances where real people look at real people.
(question sent on 10-5-2006 by e-mail)

RJ : When you talk about performances where real people look at real people I am trying to visualize that. The bean performance is probably a superb example of where this happens. It also involves the musical element. I found a photo of one of those performances (I thought it was on the site located at: the 40 year celebration of Fluxus in France was documented. What I wonder is: Why beans? (with this e-mail I sent the photo that is also besides this question)
(answer on 11-5-2006 by e-mail) AK : beans are not usually used to make art or sound works so my position in using them for both is unique. It opens up the world of art to ordinary things such as edibles. I discover rare information about beans in libraries all over the world. The first of my publications was the Bean Rolls published by Fluxus in the early sixties. The next was A Bean Concordance published by Station Hill Press in the 70's. I am always collecting new information and I find everyone has something to say on the subject. Also, I think it is healthy for artists to have outside areas of research besides their own world. I am leaving for Venice now so please hold the questions for a few weeks.
(question sent on 22-5-2006 by e-mail) RJ : How was Venice?
(answer on 24-5-2006 by e-mail) AK : Today Venice is rainy. I am here with a performance and exhibition through July 1st.
(question sent on 24-5-2006 by e-mail) RJ : Could you tell me more about what kind of performance you did and what you exhibited in Venice? It is raining here too...... (since I didn’t get a reply in September, I resent the question again with attached the concept for the Mail-Interview booklet.)
New York Mycological Society
Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi, of which the vegetative growth is typically underground or in wood. Fungi serve a major recycling role in nature, breaking down dead trees and other organic material. Fungi also help nourish trees and other plants, thus playing a key role in the health of our forests. And yes, some fungi can also play a destructive role in nature by attacking living things such as trees. Most mushrooms are not poisonous and quite a few are very good edibles. But some are very toxic and a few are deadly! Unfortunately there are no simple foolproof rules to distinguish the edible from the poisonous. One must learn individual mushroom species if one plans on eating mushrooms. The most important point is that no one should ever eat unknown mushrooms! When in doubt, throw it out! Joining a mushroom club is the safe and fun way to learn about mushrooms and fungi. The New York Mycological Society is a non-profit organization of 150 members who share an interest in mycology (the study of mushrooms and fungi) as well as in mycophagy (the eating of mushrooms). The present NYMS was reincarnated some 40 years ago by the composer John Cage and a small group of other mushroom lovers and students. Mycology is mushrooming! (text from the NYMS – Site)

[2] Dorothy Podber ran the Nonegan Gallery in the mid-1960s and she was associated with Black Mountain friends, the Mole People, the art world and the underworld. She is famous for shooting a stack of Marilyn paintings in late 1964, which she can she considered a performance.

[3] #1 Shuffle (1961)The performer or performers shuffle into the performance area and away from it, above, behind, around, or through the audience. They perform as a group or solo: but quietly. Premired August 1963 at National Association of Chemists and Performers in New York at the Advertiser's club.

Beginning in 1962 Alison Knowles wrote an important series of event scores (instructions for events carried out) which anticipate do it. These event scores were published in A Great Bear Pamphlet (1965) which included scores for Shuffle #7, 1967 ("The performer or performers shuffle into the performance area and away from it, above, behind, around, all through the audience. They perform as a group or solo...but quietly") and Proposition, 1962 ("Make a salad").

unfinished...... but published on 11-9-2007 (c) FHC

zondag 9 september 2007

Fluxus by Ben Vautier

This was published in the 1997
Fluxus Subjectiv catalogue.
The formatting here mimics the original version.

Ben Vautier

Today there is great interest but also great confusion as to the Fluxus movement;

There are those who keep theorizing about Fluxus.
They say that after Dadaism and Duchamp, Fluxus is "the most radical movement";

those who make a fetish of Fluxus. They collect the trouser buttons by Maciunas, the handkerchief by Beuys or the dirty bath water by Ben;

those who speculate with the Fluxus. "If van Gogh's ear is worth 100.000 million dollar and the bottle rack by Duchamp is worth 300.000 dollar, how much will the water glass by George Brecht then be worth on the fair in Basel in two year's time?"

those who say that the Fluxus movement does only consist of spoiled children who make art by stating that they are against art, who expect to win fame by saying "we are against fame", who want to get back into the Louvre by staying in the bistro vis-á-vis;

those who say, okay, Fluxus is something mad, but still it's better than those who produce works of art for the consumer society;

those who say that Fluxus is rather a story of attitude towards life and art than towards products;

those who say Fluxus is individuals and not works of art;

those who say that Fluxus contradicts itself, that it consists of failures who happen to be succesful just now, anti-art stars;

As far as I am concerned, I think that
Fluxus is not a production of objects, of handicraft articles to be used as a decoration in the waiting rooms of dentists and professionals,
Fluxus is not professionalism
Fluxus is not the production of works of art,
Fluxus is not naked women,
Fluxus is not pop art,
Fluxus is not an intellectual avant-garde or light entertainment theatre,
Fluxus is not German expressionism,
Fluxus is not visual poetry for secretaries who are getting bored.


Fluxus is the "event" according to George Brecht:
putting the flower vase on the piano.
Fluxus is the action of life/music: sending for a tango
expert in order to be able to dance on stage.
Fluxus is the creation of a relationship between life and art,
Fluxus is gag, pleasure and shock,
Fluxus is an attitude towards art, towards the non-art of anti-art, towards the negation of one's ego,
Fluxus is the major part of the education as to John Cage, Dadaism and Zen,
Fluxus is light and has a sense of humor.

source :

vrijdag 7 september 2007

Umbrella / mar 98


On the occasion of an extraordinary exhibition curated by Paul Schimmel over the past eight years at the Museum of Contemporary Art entitled "Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979" and the ancillary event called "Beyond the Pink" which brought performance artists from all over the world to Los Angeles, I had the great privilege of escorting Emmett Williams, the pre-eminent poet-performer known to many through Fluxus, but who has distinguished himself throughout Europe as a visionary poet, visual artist and performance artist for a week in February. During that time, I asked him if he would be willing to sit down and have a chat, and here it is on the eve of the publication of his book: Mr. Fluxus: A Collective Portrait of George Maciunas to be published in the U.S. by Thames & Hudson in May 1998.

I told him that he has been in my vocabulary for at least 25 years, but we never sat down and talked before this very day of Friday the 13th of February.

I asked him how he got involved in Fluxus.

It was because of receiving a letter one day in Darmstadt, where I was living, from La Monte Young and he was saying he had seen some of my writings and drawings in a German book called Movens (1959) and he wanted to know if he could use some of this material for a magazine they were preparing called Beatitude, and I said yes, and all things developed from there. I did have a letter from La Monte that there was this strange guy named Maciunas who was coming to Europe, trying to escape some bad debts, and that he would look me up and talk about performance and things like that. His letters to me are all in the Getty now because of the Jean Brown Collection. Suddenly, there came George Maciunas, and he had heard about my work, and the work of Robert Filliou, Daniel Spoerri, and Dieter Roth, who were all good friends of mine, and Jean Tingueley and so on and so on. Eventually, in September 1962, that was Wiesbaden and that was the beginning of Fluxus as performance festival. It was simply performance. And of course, there were 14 concerts in Wiesbaden and then Paris, and then Copenhagen (1962) and in early 1963 we went to Dusseldorf for a series of concerts and that was when Joseph Beuys joined the club.

What distinguished me was that I belonged to the European faction, because my friends were Europeans, and soon after Dusseldorf, George Maciunas went back to the United States and started the Fluxus thing in the United States. Alison and Dick had been visiting from Turkey and so that's how I got to know them in Wiesbaden. I remained in Europe, and Fluxus became something very important in Europe, much more so than in America, thanks to Beuys, Vostell, Ren≠ Block and other people who believed in Fluxus in a much more serious way than in the United States. These were very accomplished artists, and they were involved in Fluxus and people took note. They explained what Fluxus was, different from what I thought or what Dick thought, and it remains a very very European phenomenon. George was Lithuanian-born himself and had spent the first part of his life in Europe, shaped by these things. He was the "immigrant boy".

Was the transition in New York, in the heart of AbEx and Pop Art, the reason that Fluxus could not grab on with such competition.

No, no one called himself or herself a Fluxus artist in New York who could match a Vostell or a Beuys or a Kopke or others who remained in Europe and had an entirely different approach. People who made Fluxus created a glorious scene in Europe--Eric Anderson, Kopke, and we did not come out of nowhere, because we had been doing things. My Opera was first done in the 1950s, and so much of my work was done before Fluxus. I knew Vostell, Spoerri, Beuys, Filliou, Ben Patterson and Nam June before there was a Fluxus. I remember meeting in Milano before Fluxus went to the Biennale in the early 1990s and Gino di Maggio asked, "How did Fluxus change your work and your life?" Oh, Ben Vautier said this happened and this happened, and I just said, I saw you Ben Vautier in London before Fluxus and you were doing the same things before Fluxus and after Fluxus. When George said, Let there be Fluxus, we didn't change our ways and do something else. He gave us a forum so that we could come together and do things.

Did you come together before Fluxus?

I was very close to Spoerri and Filliou. The first performance of Opera in 1959 was with Spoerri and Klaus Bremen and myself in the Keller Club in the Castle in Darmstadt. Daniel was very active in theater at the time, he comes from ballet--the poetry that has come to be identified with me as Fluxus was all there before. It was my work that many people regard as Fluxus work that La Monte saw and that caused Maciunas to phone me and say that I'm coming over to talk about Fluxus. So many of the Americans allegedly came out of John Cage's class. The only comparable thing in Europe was the summer courses in music outside of Darmstadt where I first met these Americans like Earl Brown and John Cage. I was more interested in those days in Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bruno Maderna and Pierre Boulez-- whose ideas of notation changed the nature of my poetic work and gave me ideas of structuring my performances.

I was in Europe from 1949 - 1966 when I went to New York to become the Editor-in-Chief of the Something Else Press. My closest friendship there was with Ay-O, and we are more than brothers to this day. And there were others. And during the years when I taught at Cal Arts, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, and the Sabitas Girl's School in Massachusetts and at Mt. Holyoke and then the culminating teaching experience in the United States was at Harvard. Ann Noel and I had the finest time at Harvard. We had marvelous students, many friends, and we did not want to stay there forever, because it was far too comfortable. In 1980, I was invited to be a guest artist in the DAAD program in Berlin, and we went to Berlin and have been there ever since. Gary, our son, is now a composer studying in Canada, and Annie and I see our old friends who are still alive and with whom I collaborate: Spoerri, Hamilton and Roth. Al Hansen finally came to Europe, but he dropped dead recently. My friends and collaborators remain European. It is significant that the only prize I ever won was the first Hannah H ch prize, given to me by Berlin, and it was so funny for an American to get this. It made me feel very comfortable. This year, Vostell got the prize. It's very interesting that this marvelous award should go first to an American, and the next year to Vostell and it is for lifetime achievement in the Arts. I'd like to think that it was given to me in Berlin by Germans.

Berlin has been very good to you, recognized your merits, given you a great studio. It's very unusual for an American to be embraced so much by this German city.

It is really very nice, and I do this not as a Fluxus artist. When I have exhibitions, I do not say I am a Fluxus artist, I say it is my work. And that makes me very comfortable. And it's nice to outlive descriptive titles like that. There are not too many people who know about my background. They come to my shows and buy the work, because they like it.

The 30th year anniversary of Fluxus seemed to stimulate the interest in Fluxus with students, curators, and art historians. It was not only in history, but with actual performances, objects, and installations.

The beginning of the anniversary in 1982, and then in 1992 had international repercussions. But many people misunderstand what Fluxus artists complain about--that is, that the museums had ignored their work, but in the beginning there was no work, there was nothing to put on the wall and nothing to look at, so it wasn't until there came to be things by Fluxus artists to put on the wall that they came to see things on the wall. In fact, what distinguishes the US Fluxus from the European is that Fluxus USA began to make boxes, and we in Europe continued in the tradition of performance. We did participate in the box program, but we didn't do boxes exclusively.

But coming to the States in 1966 to become Editor-in-Chief of Something Else Press obviously attracted you.

Well, I would never have done it on my own, but the fact is that Dick Higgins knew the French edition of Anecdoted Topography of Chance of Daniel Spoerri, and I translated and re-anecdoted that book and Dick Higgins published it as a Something Else Press book and invited me to the United States to be his editor-in-chief, and passage was paid for this translation, and there is that connection. I had no intention to come to the US for a signing party. I came because to it was to help pay for the translation.

Two years ago, in London, Atlas Press brought out an absolutely staggering new version of The Anecdoted Topography of Chance, all reworked, so that except for Robert, and Topor presented a little introduction, and we all went to work and re-anecdoted the thing again--it is much thicker and more beautiful--and the British press just raved over it. They liked the first thing I had translated, but the Times Literary Supplement said this is the classic of its time--etc. And this time around, of course, the publisher used Fluxus. He said he personally felt that this was the most important Fluxus document ever published--From my point of view, I don't think so at all. And Daniel would certainly disagree with that, since he wasn't so hot about Fluxus when he first did that book, and the word doesn't even appear in the original book. Now it does, because it is inevitable and in the book, we debate that. Dieter Roth translated for the German edition of the book my anecdoted notation in German and re-anecdoted that, so the Dieter Roth German appears for the first time translated into English. Dieter didn't like Fluxus and didn't like George (from the Mr. Fluxus book) and Dieter has always been considered a Fluxus artist, and George Maciunas hoped and believed that he might be, but Dieter thoroughly rejected George's ideas of design, etc.

How did you pick up artists?

George said, we have this museum in Wiesbaden, let's do something. We have this church in Copenhagen and let's do something. Mind you, we paid our own way. Why did we pay our own way? Because nobody had a dime. George had a job and I had a job, but I was raising a family and we had real jobs in Germany working for the government. He was supporting Fluxus and his mother, and I was supporting my family. He paid for all of his boxes out of his own pocket. He didn't have a work ethic, because he didn't have a play ethic. It was all work.

Is Fluxus a movement?

It was enough of a movement so that Spoerri and Tingueley had a big argument about it, because Daniel and Tingueley and Yves Klein were Nouveau Realistes. When Daniel got involved in Fluxus, Tingueley, his best friend, told him to leave it alone--it's no good. You have to go in a straight line--that was Tingueley's warning. But Daniel said, I never go in a straight line, and participated in it. It didn't mean he was the great champion of Fluxus, but he joined it. As far as Christo and Jean-Claude, they were very friendly to Fluxus and proposed a thing for George, and their contribution to Mr. Fluxus was very sweet in the book. They remember him very kindly.

Then there are embarrassing things. Nam June talks about how Maciunas knew so and so and worked at Cooper Union, and George knew Oldenburg--so I wrote to Claes and asked him to tell me about his relationship with George. He answered that it wasn't like that. I have documentary proof that George and Claes didn't work together. I worked with Claes about the Store Days book in 1966, and I don't think we ever talked about Fluxus. Claes was teaching me all about Pop Art and the American scene which I had missed while I was in Europe. He did not talk about Fluxus at all.

When you were with Something Else Press, what was the distribution problems?

Dick and I tried to get a campus bookshop to get interested in the product, but they said they never got involved in the "vanity press" publications. Dick joined up with Aperture and the Small Press thing Michael Hoffman directed--and there was a meeting with the salesmen. I remember that I was so proud of the international success of a book I did with Hansjorg Mayer, Sweethearts, which Richard Hamilton loved and Duchamp loved it, and eventually Dick decided to publish it. He published it, and Duchamp was very happy to put the coeur volant on the cover. So I had to listen to a salesman, who said, well there was one book, Sweethearts, by Emmett Williams, you know it's printed back to front--how are you going to sell a book like that to a bookstore, you ought to burn the whole edition. This very thing of considering it printed back to front has generated an essay about that, placing me in a class with Jewish mystics by Jean Sellem at Lund He sent me the outline of his essay and I told him that he was convincing me! It's nice to know that the ambiguities are there to allow critics to re-interpret the book far from the intentions of the author.

What about your Anthology of Concrete Poetry?

I supposed I was the ideal person to do it, because I was doing that before I came to New York in 1966. I had published my first book of concrete poetry with Daniel Spoerri in 1958, and published quite widely, and I knew all the poets and they had my work and I had theirs. I had brought most of it to become the core of this book (1966-67) and this was seen in America widespread for the first time in that book. With 18,000 copies sold--quite an achievement for a small press. And in Budapest, so many people there had a copy of my book. I consider some of my best work is in the German language now which is not known to those who do not have the language facility.

For those you know you only as a "concrete poet", doesn't that seem a limited view of Emmett Williams?

I am a poet, visual artist and performer--and those objects are what sells. What I'm involved in now and for the next couple of years is a project of tongue- in- cheek history of post-studio art from 1960 to the present day (there are going to be 100 of them, and I've already done 75)--and 12 ceramic pieces in Verona--learning how to do ceramics--and two of those things are going to be made into tapestries in Pakistan. It was not my decision.

I did some fascinating prints a year ago with a genius in Hanover who does these extraordinary special effects things--and people said it's some of the best work I've ever done, but it's not really me, since he did them--but I hardly take credit for them. Annie and Gary always want to bring me up to date with these machines, but I do it my way.

We've made some trips to Africa, and I've made designs of the little people I make--and decided they should go on large wheels and shields--and so these were carved by natives in Kenya (not artists) and they are large and in such bad shape (transport, etc.) and it takes weeks and weeks to get them in shape in order to paint them, and so Annie and I are working on 25 of them. And it will be smashing when they're all done. The wood has to be dried, and then we have to plane it down.

When did you think about Mr. Fluxus? Was it a long-term project?

When I was in New York--after the death of George--I had been in Harvard and came down for a weekend. And Ay-o and I decided that wouldn't it be fun to do a book about George--the dozen important people in Fluxus who had been there--called The Book of George-because we saw that after the death of George, funny things were happening. Someone released a story that "I will be in charge of Fluxus"--others said, he was nothing. Two of my friends said well there is not very much to say about George--he's an overblown figure.

So I asked certain people to give five anecdotes about George Maciunas so that we could get to know him through the anecdotes that people remember him by--from Watts, Shiomi, Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Ay-o, myself, about a dozen. We thought how to do this--Ay-o went to Japan and I to Europe, and we forgot the whole thing. I mentioned occasionally that Ay-o and I had been planning to do this, and Michele Verges said I'd publish it if you gave it to me.

I started working on it again 10 years later,trying to find people. It took about 10 years to get letters, manuscripts to me to get them all together--and then to bring it together. I wanted to do a book "from womb to tomb" in the words of other people--sometimes with anecdotes--the story of his life, of his death and how he was loved, hated and feared by all these people and their assessment of what he was--great or terrible. Out of the most devastating is that of Allan Kaprow, who zeroes in on the feud with Stockhausen.

And what about this Love-Hate situation with George Maciunas?

We were all kicked out--only two were not kicked out: Ken Friedman and Ben Vautier. We were all prima donnas--all kicked out. Vostell was never let in; George hated his guts. Beuys was never let in. George absolutely despised him, but Beuys loved him. George not only kicked me out--Kopke, Anderson our of Fluxus, but he denounced us to the Soviet press and to the world as fascist thugs--and this was a joke that Eric did: Eric was making a trip through Eastern countries and started to send letters and postcards from Moscow, etc. how we were performing Fluxus in various cities and George believed it, and we were dismissed.

Bici (Hendricks) has one of the most beautiful accounts of the dying. But it was only after he had died that we knew that it was "gossip" . We only renewed our friendship when Jean Brown brought George to an exhibition of mine at Mt. Holyoke-- and George said that maybe we can be friends again and gave me a beautiful name box--but I told him we had always been friends, but "you didn't believe it". But he never forgave Dick Higgins for Something Else Press.

There are those books which dictate Fluxus as defined only by George Maciunas. What is Mr. Fluxus about?

George does not have the last word in this book. There are some 70 people pro and con telling what they think Fluxus is and what Fluxus is not. This is not hero worship. 75% ended up in the garbage, and they could save it for their books, but not this one. And I told some contributors that I was returning stuff asking whether they could try again?

Ken ended by saying he hardly knew him. Ben Vautier loved George very much showing a maximal amount of respect for George with a poem that he wrote. Catalogs have served as amazing new data about Fluxus. Ren≠ Block's 1962 Wiesbaden Fluxus 1982 is still one of the best. The Fluxus in Germany catalog I believe is the best documentation and it's too bad it has not been translated.

Do you think that art history books in the future will give Fluxus its due?

I don't see how they can avoid Fluxus. the time hasn't quite come yet, but you have some first-rate historians such as Thomas Kellein whose small book on Fluxus published by Thames & Hudson has been translated into German, Japanese and English, and the English edition is now reprinted in a second edition.

And now that Mr. Fluxus is almost here?

Well, the jacket by Ay-O is definitely eye-catching. And I was very happy how the critics treated My Life in Fluxus with great seriousness. It was not a history of Fluxus at all, but was an attempt to show what one member of Fluxus did, what it was like to be part of Fluxus. In this regard, I had many arguments with Jon Hendricks, because he was basing the history of Fluxus on a collection that Gil Silverman was able to buy, which is not complete and not comprehensive.

Let's talk about Hanns Sohm for a minute.

Well, no Sohm, no Fluxus. The Hanns Sohm Archive was before Fluxus, and it's all there. Fluxus fits into a large and important archive. If you want Concrete Poetry, go there; if you want Ginsberg, Beats, go there. If you want Wallace Berman, go there. The Sohm Archive gives context to all movements. I used to enjoy going to Sohms' and staying there before the collection was sold to the Stuttgart Museum. He looks at the material first, then puts it into context. I send all my material to him at his home, before it ever gets to the museum. I had my Opera performed last summer in a Castle outside Stuttgart and it lasted four hours. Sohm was there. And he's there when you're short of cash; he'll buy something to keep you going. And the museum of Stuttgart is one of the jewels of Europe, and it's wonderful that the archive is there. My letters to George and to Daniel Spoerri are at the Getty now, and it's too bad they're not in Stuttgart.

And tell us what plans you have now.

Well, Mr. Fluxus has been translated into German, Lithuanian, Japanese and English. The German translation came out first, and it was from the English original. The English edition is larger, since it has more new material in it. And we have several Fluxus books by this one publishing house in England, Thames & Hudson , including the Fluxus show at the Tate. Ben Vautier and I have done a tape of our ICA performances in London. In March, I have been invited to Australia as President of the Museum in Lodz, Poland and I plan to work with the Aborigines, as well as doing performances in Melbourne. Perhaps I will also visit the Fluxus Collection in Queensland.

UMBRELLA NEWS According to news about Tony Blair's changes in the Brand-New Britain, bowler hats and rightly coiled umbrellas are no longer seen around the Bank of England.

The cover of the 26 January 1998 issue of The New Yorker has a pope and Castro enjoying the sunset sitting in chairs on the beach, Castro with a typical cigar in his hand and the Pope with a drink and a little umbrella in his drink. Hurrah for the Pope in remembering Umbrella's 20th Anniversary!

An article in the New York Times, under the title of "Coping" by Robert Lipsyte discusses the life of an Egyptian, Khairy Gurgis, who came to New York in 1983, and it was raining. He borrowed $20 from his wife and bough a dozen umbrellas wholesale, selling them on 6th Avenue for $3 each. Then he brought a dozen more, and kept doing it. He made $75 profit that day, after repaying his wife with the initial $20. It rained the next day, and he was happy to do it again, but the police came and confiscated his goods and directed him to go to Consumer Affairs to get a license. He has been selling things on the street including scarves, hats and gloves for 8 years, as well as manufacturing batik dresses and hand-woven coats under his King Tut label. Although he has had to go before the courts because the City of New York has issued a list of dozens of streets to be placed off limits to vendors, the public has signed petitions to keep the vendors as a vital component of the community. The Umbrella Man wants to be considered a "real human being with a place in my community".

"The Umbrellas of Yorgos Zongolopoulos" is a lighthearted stainless-steel sculpture that became the emblem of the Cultural Capital of Europe in 1997, Thessaloniki, Greece.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE UMBRELLA MUSEUM Judy & Chuck Goodstein, Joanne Echevarria-Myers, Melinda Smith Altshuler, Genie Shenk, Pam Scheinman, Guy Bleus, Anna Banana, Patricia Collins, Sandra Jackman, Janet Pyle, Carol Stetser, Judith Stein, Unica T, Carol Stetser, Alicja Stowikowsa & Radek Nowakowski

Πέθανε ο καλλιτέχνης Emmett Williams

Πέθανε στις 14 Φλεβάρη στο Βερολίνο, σε ηλικία 81 ετών ο Emmett Williams, που ήταν γνωστός (κυρίως) ποιητής με έργα concrete poetry, δραστηριοποιήθηκε στα πλαίσια του κύκλου του Darmstadt, ενώ υπήρξε ένας από τους καλλιτέχνες που ίδρυσαν και κινήθηκαν στα πλαίσια του Fluxus. Αν και Αμερικανός, έζησε από πολύ νωρίς στην Ευρώπη και εργάστηκε στο Darmstadt, όπου και δρούσε ένα πλήθος καλλιτεχνών που αναζητούσαν μια έκφραση χωρίς τους μέχρι τότε περιορισμούς, που να συνδυάζει περισσότερα μέσα. Ανάμεσα σ΄ αυτούς συγκαταλέγονται ο Karlheinz Stockhausen (από τον οποίο επηρεάστηκαν αργότερα και οι Κraftwerk),που έδινε μαθήματα εκεί, αλλά και ο Daniele Spoerri, ο Jean Tinguely, ενώ στο Darmstadt βρέθηκε και o John Cage και ο George Maciounas- πατέρας του όρου Fluxus, από το οποίο ξεπήδησαν καλλιτέχνες σαν τον Joseph Beuys και τον Nam June Paik.

Κατά τα τέλη τις δεκαετίας του ΄50 και τις αρχές τις δεκαετίας του ΄60 το Fluxus και οι καλλιτέχνες που σχετίστηκαν μ' αυτό το διευρυμένο και χαλαρό δίκτυο έδωσαν νέο νόημα σε ζητήματα όπως η performance και το happening, έθεσαν ζητήματα για τον εμπορευματικό χαρακτήρα της τέχνης, την DIY αισθητική και τους περιορισμούς του κάθε μέσου και κυρίως το αίτημα για συνδυασμό διαφορετικών μέσων διαμέσου τρόπων όπως η visual poetry, το κολάζ και η video art. Το Fluxus ήταν μια avant garde κίνηση που μάλλον έγινε αργότερα πιο δημοφιλής και κατανοητή επηρεάζοντας την pop art, μιας και όπως είπε και ο ίδιος ο Emmett Williams σε κάποια από τα event scores (όπως ονόμαζαν τις performances που ήταν διαφορετικές- και πιο απλές από τα happenings) ήταν ελάχιστα άτομα παρόντα, σε σχέση με όσους τελικά ισχυρίζονται ότι «ήταν κι αυτοί εκεί».

Ο Williams θεωρούσε τον εαυτό του ποιητή περισσότερο από ο,τιδήποτε άλλο, αλλά έναν ποιητή που εκφραζόταν με αντισυμβατικούς και αντιπαραδοσιακούς τρόπους, παίζοντας με τα γράμματα, βασιζόμενος σε μαθηματικές σχέσεις και φτιάχνοντας ποίηση με έναν τρόπο σύνθεσης που θα χρησιμοποιούσε ένας γλύπτης ή ένας μουσικός. Για παράδειγμα, το ποίημα του Τhe Last French-Fried Potato παρουσιάστηκε το 1964 με τους performers να απαγγέλλουν ένα στίχο, να τρώνε μια τηγανιτή πατάτα και την performance να διαρκεί μέχρι να τελειώσουν οι πατάτες (!).

...Ι have just eaten the last French- fried potato
I wonder who, way back in the dawn of history ate the first

donderdag 6 september 2007

Statement in Intermedia

Art is one of the ways that people communicate. It is difficult for me to imagine a serious person attacking any means of communication per se. Our real enemies are the ones who send us to die in pointless wars or to live lives which are reduced to drudgery, not the people who use other means of communication from those which we find most appropriate to the present situation. When these are attacked, a diversion has been established which only serves the interests of our real enemies.

However, due to the spread of mass literacy, to television and the transistor radio, our sensitivities have changed. The very complexity of this impact gives us a taste for simplicity, for an art which is based on the underlying images that an artist has always used to make his point. As with the cubists, we are asking for a new way of looking at things, but more totally, since we are more impatient and more anxious to go to the basic images. This explains the impact of Happenings, event pieces, mixed media films. We do not ask any more to speak magnificently of taking arms against a sea of troubles, we want to see it done. The art which most directly does this is the one which allows this immediacy, with a minimum of distractions.

Goodness only knows how the spread of psychedelic means, tastes, and insights will speed up this process. My own conjecture is that it will not change anything, only intensify a trend which is already there.

For the last ten years or so, artists have changed their media to suit this situation, to the point where the media have broken down in their traditional forms, and have become merely puristic points of reference. The idea has arisen, as if by spontaneous combustion throughout the entire world, that these points are arbitrary and only useful as critical tools, in saying that such-and-such a work is basically musical, but also poetry. This is the intermedial approach, to emphasize the dialectic between the media. A composer is a dead man unless he composes for all the media and for his world.

Does it not stand to reason, therefore, that having discovered the intermedia (which was, perhaps, only possible through approaching them by formal, even abstract means), the central problem is now not only the new formal one of learning to use them, but the new and more social one of what to use them for? Having discovered tools with an immediate impact, for what are we going to use them? If we assume, unlike McLuhan and others who have shed some light on the problem up until now, that there are dangerous forces at work in our world, isn´t it appropriate to ally ourselves against these, and to use what we really care about and love or hate as the new subject matter in our work? Could it be that the central problem of the next ten years or so, for all artists in all possible forms, is going to be less the still further discovery of new media and intermedia, but of the new discovery of ways to use what we care about both appropriately and explicitly? The old adage was never so true as now, that saying a thing is so don´t make it so. Simply talking about Viet Nam or the crisis in our Labor movements is no guarantee against sterility. We must find the ways to say what has to be said in the light of our new means of communicating. For this we will need new rostrums, organizations, criteria, sources of information. There is a great deal for us to do, perhaps more than ever. But we must now take the first steps.

Dick Higgins
New York
August 3, 1966

Published in:
Wolf Vostell (ed.): Dé-coll/age (décollage) * 6, Typos Verlag, Frankfurt - Something Else Press, New York, July 1967

woensdag 5 september 2007

Dick Higgins reading...

Dick Higgins reading at Colloque Art Action in Québec, photo taken in 1998.

Another text

Fluxus. The word "fluxus", means "a flow", an unstoppable movement towards a commitment that is more ethical than aestetic in nature.Fluxus, which developed mainly in North America and Europe, following the influence of Cage, did not aim at being avant-garde in the sense of creating a new language, but rather at making a different use of established channels of art, and at the liberation of art from any specific language.It therefore focused on interdisciplinarity and on the use of means to a new concept of art, as "total art".

The artistic experience, be it work or event, is the opportunity to create a presence and a sign of energy within reality. Thus "Fluxus" has functioned as a moving front of people, rather than as a group of specialists, following not so much a tactic of experimentation in new languages as a strategy of social contact, with the aim of creating a series of chain-reactions, or magnetic waves, above and below art.

The concept of "Fluxus" was first put forward in America in 1962 by George Maciunas.The first exhibition, the "Fluxus International Festspiele", was held at Wiesbaden in September 1962.
See: "Anthology of Fluxus", by Lamonte Young, 1963. Thanks to David Faber for Translation.

source :

zondag 2 september 2007

Roots of Fluxlist

The purpose of FLUXLIST is to promote an exchange of ideas about the past, present, and future of Fluxus.The list can include a wide range of members, ranging from those who have recently read or heard about Fluxus to experts. New Beginnings (Aug, 1999): Guidelines for FLUXLIST participation "Fluxus has been able to grow because it's had room for dialogue and transformation. It's been able to be born and reborn several times in different ways. The fluid understanding of its own history and meaning, the central insistence on dialogue and social creativity rather than on objects and artifacts have enabled Fluxus to remain alive on the several occasions that Fluxus has been declared dead."--Ken Friedman, A FLUXUS IDEA 1/2.

source :

Another Book