A Self-Destructing Compilation of Cultural Iconography and Mail Art
Life for the Autodidact
Opening salvo: Film Clips is a magazine of mixed means and media, a true mailartzine, bringing together the tendencies of garbage-satirical mailart and the aesthetic proclivities from the more thoughtful end of the field. It began, as all such things must, in the mail. A provocateur of the subgroundbeef level of artistic expression and defiance, the Baltimorian tentatively, a convenience, sent me a copy of his latest mailing documenting his film distribution project. What this consists of is a handful of frames from a super-8 film of tentatively’s art objects and usually brief notes explaining what the previous recipients of such had done with their soft-won film. Many ingenious and interesting ideas there, so I didn’t know what to do . . . until I thought of putting together a magazine to fold around each frame of film—the film being the germ of an idea. I invited four mailartistic types to join in by sending 15 copies of anything related (or not) to the idea of film clips, however they chose to interpret it. Two brave men complied.
Review of the Enclosures and Enclosings: First there is the large self-locking bag, then these sheets of paper in front of a folded cardboard pocket (on the back of which are a number of stickers picked up during my life—some self-adhesive, some requiring added wetness), and between the cardboard is most of the stuff. The important things are those that Mark and Larry sent. Larry sent five items which were housed (originally) next to each other: two photocopies of pencil sketches, two colorful artists’ stamps, and a Polaroid photograph from the videoscreen (each one different for each copy of the issue). Mark sent a large folded cinematic comic parody three panels long. The rest is mess and mirth and mush. Many cards of different types, items found in a large enough quantity, some of which have the name and issue number of this magazine written or stamped upon them. Oh, there’s a blank roll of microfilm for recording your dreams, loose videotape over everything (like chocolate syrup on a sundae), a scrap of 35mm camera film (unexposed, undeveloped)—these are types of film to us, even the tape. A baggie with two earring wires, one with a frame of color super-8 film, one with a frame of b&w 16mm film. A squarish baggie with two slips of crystalized (which once was coated) photocopy paper from the 1960’s and a piece of the Berlin wall (a newspaper story about the parent chunk of the wall is included in the magabag). There’s a matchbook which may automatically combust. A form letter from Ronald Reagan to volunteers (donated by John Eberly years ago), which is stamped with a rubberstamp altered by Malok. You’ll find an errata sheet from my wife’s college litzine, which carries a (re)movable self-stick label (suitable for transferring to other parts of this collection or the world). Each one different: a black and white photograph of an anonymous white junior high student (era apparent). A copy of “POOR COPY,” a praecisio moment by G. Huth (35 copies of which exist outside these bags). A wooden coffee stirrer. A green twist tie. A self-locking baggie with a few colorful pieces of paper, some of which are stickers repeated on the back of the collection. Unions and schools and other wonders of our times.
In(ves)tigation: This little bag of self-destruction is a tiny garbage pit of our lives. Items we could have saved for our children’s befuddlement are protected here until the acid in the paper east it away to dust, until the metal rusts, the plastic entropied (brown, then brittle, then broken)> At the end there will remain maybe the stone from a wall that a couple of tourists took apart before their divorce. Nothing holds together here. Each scrap of information is a part of a life, and it is our life, and it doesn’t form a plot, it doesn’t answer questions, and it doesn’t even wait for us to realize what’s happening. Now, now is when now comes. It never comes after; it never comes before.
Hope for the Fewture: How is life like a film clip, a piece of isaye? That is the program here: To find out and to show it. Broad and vague enough in conception that tape and stone and the actual film of plastic (or the film of skin that keeps us from rotting before our own eyes, wet as they are under their own glassine film) are included as movies, because life is a movie, and life is everything, so everything is a movie. Sit back and watch, and some day there will be another issue of this magazine, always in extremely limited runs (because that allows for more possibility). Sometimes tied to t,ac’s film distributions but sometimes appearing of its own volition will be Film Clips: not quite a magazine, not quite a life, but close enough for most of us.
What to Do Next: Anyone interested in seeing as issue of this cinegma had better contact the compiler [Ge(of Huth)] and ask for an invitation to the next issue because there are so few issues that hardly any are left after the contributor’s copies are distributed. Some issues may have only one contributor. There are no promises here. This magabag may fold after issue number one.
Addresses of the Bicoastal Can’tributors:
Larry Angelo, [address reserved], New York, NY 10023 USA
Mark Rose, [address reserved], Seattle, WA 98103 USA
compiled by Ge(of Huth) at [my old address], Rotterdam, NY 12306 USA
pdqb # 8 / 11 February 1991 / This is copy # --- of 15
un violon d’ingres