Friday, December 31, 2004

Half an Alphabet of Cards:
"On This Site" (qbdp # 41)

I ended the year by putting together one last mailart mailing--one I've been working on (slowly) for months. For most of that time, the object consisted of nothing but a small metal plate into which I stamped a small text over and over again. I'd planned to create twenty-seven of these, but I ran out of steam and ended up with thirteen (half an alphabet's worth).

The object consists of a stamped metal plate held by two of its corners in slots cut into a piece of brown card. The card is folded into three uneven panels. When closed, the front of the card shows a stamped letter (matching the letter stamped on the metal plate) and four triangular halves from four different Queen Elizabeth II stamps (these latter glued down). The back of the card includes a colophon handwritten with fountain pen. When fully open, the first panel consists of the handwritten letter designation for this card, the second panel holds the metal plate, and the last panel includes a note to the recipient.

The card is inserted into a small cream envelope of laid paper. The letter designation for the card is stamped in purple on the front of the envelope, and a larger version of the letter is hand-colored in green pencil in a stencil shape. The premlip of this envelope includes a handwritten half-signature ("g.huth").

This entire envelope is inserted into a slightly larger brown-grey envelope with my return address stamped on the premlip and the letter designation stamped below it in green.

Geof Huth, One and a Third Copies of "On This Site" (31 Dec 2004)

The recipients of this mailing are as follows:

A/M Ruth and Marvin Sackner

B/M Bob Grumman

C/M Roy Arenella

D/M Reed Altemus

E/M Ficus strangulensis

F/M Ruud Janssen

G/M Luc Fierens

H/M Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

I/M Qpidoremix

J/M Mick Boyle

K/M jcsyntheticsuk

L/M Scott McDonald

M/M qbdp

un violon d'ingres

Thursday, December 30, 2004

A Panoply of Possibility

Reed Altemus has sent me a number of great publications and mailings over the past few months. One was a complete set of a series of postcards of verbo-visual collaborations. (Expect a review of those at dbqp sometime in January.) Another was this mailing, which includes a copy of the copy art zine, Farrago # 2 (which I'll also have to review at dbqp soon).

Also in the package was this wonderful three color print. I'm not sure what printing process Reed used, but it's a beautiful job of layering color and image.

Reed Altemus, [three-color print] (2004?)

un violon d'ingres

Drawing a Thought out of Writing

About two weeks before Christmas, Roy Arenella sent me a beautiful catalog ("Ian Hamilton Finlay: Prints") in a mailing, and I was simultaneously exalted and disheartened. Finlay is one of my favorite visual writers, the catalog is beautiful, and it includes an wonderful little essay on Finlay's work. But I was sad to realize all the chances I'd missed to see this show in New York City. I was in New York for work during four of the days this show was open, and on the last day of the show I was in Poughkeepsie (an easy train ride away) and was trying to decide whether to travel to New York for the publication party for Lit 9 (which included a number of my visual poems. But I decided I hadn't enough justification to make the trip.

Inside the letter, Roy shows me something of his process for creating a remarkable little semiotic poem. He begins by sketching out his "assignment":

Roy Arenella, Draft of "From Point thru Word to Line"
(7 Nov 2004)

Then he revises the poem into its final form:

Roy Arenella, Final Version of
"From Point thru Word to Line" (7 Nov 2004)

Quite remarkable. The letters in this poem are almost totally transformed into shapes that appear to transfer meaning to us without words. But could we read it aloud?

un violon d'ingres

Monday, December 27, 2004

Weirdness Unlimited

My good friend Ficus strangulensis frequently notes the weirdness of my cards and mailings to him, so I return the favor. I find something quite weird about the combination of text strips on this card:



remaindered book

Ficus strangulensis, "remaindered book" (10 Dec 2004)

un violon d'ingres

"EYE" (qbdp # 40)

On December 9th, I actually took two sets of Paul Graubard postcards and fidgetglyphed upon their back sides. One set I created in O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois. The other, "EYE," I created once I made it to my hotel room in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Neither of these cards was a particularly good showing from me, but I was working very quickly and almost totally sapped of energy. This visual poem here is a simple "eye" poem, one of dozens I've made. It forms part of a probably-never-to-be-completed book of poems entitled "poeyems."

"EYE" (qbqp # 40)

The lucky recipients of this mailing are as follows:

1/7 Ruth and Marvin Sackner

2/7 Bob Grumman

3/7 Roy Arenella

4/7 Scott McDonald

5/7 Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

6/7 Qpidoremix

7/7 qbdp

un violon d'ingres

nuung being (qbdp # 39)

Ah, yes, I am behind. On December 9th, while I was in Chicago O'Hare, I decided to put together a quick, simple, and fairly boring set of fidgetglyph cards, each card fixed to the back of a postcard of a Paul Graubard painting. I was quick with the cards, but my time was short, so I had to mail them the next day from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Geof Huth, "nuung being" (qbdp # 39)
(9 Dec 2004)

The lucky recipients of this mailing are as follows:

1/7 Ruth and Marvin Sackner

2/7 Bob Grumman

3/7 Roy Arenella

4/7 Ruud Janssen

5/7 Reed Altemus

6/7 Ficus strangulensis

7/7 qbdp

un violon d'ingres

Twenty-Five Years and Counting

Ruud Janssen is celebrating 25 active years in mailart with a series of cards and envelopes with 25 painted on them. This envelope is # 04-396 (so the 396th mailing of the year 2004). Inside, Ruud includes a couple of notes, some mailart announcements, and a wonderful painting/poem/card by Ruud about sometimes being analog in a digital work that was put out by the Fluxus Heidelberg Center in 1996.

Ruud Janssen, Painted Envelope # 04-396 (8 Dec 2004)

un violon d'ingres

The View from Fikeland

Ah, Fike is back being indefatigable. He sent me another packet of artist's trading cards. It's always great to see how Fike interprets my stuff ("thx 4D (mysterious)screenshot card") and how he transcribes my letters into his mailart "database" (thx4Dcraziness, sending in return, this fairly placid card [pagemaker 6.5 screenshot of 'OHIO day see'], too young for stress test, had one, passed, sometimes wonder, take care."

Ficus strangulensis, Envelope with "Fig. 2 Front wheel camber"
(4 Dec 2004)

un violon d'ingres

In Green E's

Scott MacDonald reports creating this poem in his "mom's stamp room," possibly a room any mailartist would desire. The multitudinous E's suggest "ease" to me, along with the dancing Chinese dragon in top hat and the dragonfly stamped out of the center of this curving-edged card.

Scott MacDonald, "EEEEEE" (3 Dec 2004)

un violon d'ingres

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Collaging the World

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen is essentially a collagist, which is apparent by glancing at his mailXart weblog and even his nonlinear poetry weblog.

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Double-sided Collage Card
(3 Dec 2004)

The above is the back of the card, which provides us with a randomized set of text. The meaning of the text is still here, but only in spots. Coherence is broken apart, as is the goal in most of Jukka-Pekka's work.

You can see the front of this card at Jukka-Pekka's blog, and there you will see it includes a copy of my pwoermd, "enought."

un violon d'ingres

Finding the Hidden Poem

Ruud Janssen sent me a card upon which he has painted a poem hidden within it surface! You can see the front of the card at Ruud's blog, so maybe I'll post the reverse, which includes a nice little rubberstamped monogram (RJ).

Ruud Janssen, Reverse of "BLOG EAT BE" (29 Nov 2004)

un violon d'ingres

A Whale of a Card

Sometime around November 2nd, Qpidoremix (the master of intricate mailart design) mailed me a wonderful card that laminated the reflective layer of a CD and the image of a whale between two sheets of plastic. I received the card on December 6th, probably because the postal service (of both our countries) had trouble comprehending this art.

Qpidoremix, Laminated Card, Obverse (Nov 2004)

Notice the chatoyance that glances off the top of the CD layer of the card. Somehow, I cannot help but think of Moby Dick when I see the whale--and Herman Melville used to live around here (in Lansingburgh, New York), so I almost believe that this reference was qp's intent with this card.

Qpidoremix, Laminated Card, Reverse (Nov 2004)

On December 7th, Qpidoremix sent me an email asking me if I had received the card, and I explained that I just had, and thanked him for it. He then explained that "Initially Herma [his girlfriend] didnt want me to send the card either as she wanted to keep it for herself. I was only allowed by Herma to send it after I promised to make such a card for her too. I made one for her with a seal on one side which she has seen, but I hadn't had the chance to make it two sided for her."

Herma died recently, and the doctors do not even know why. My heart goes out to Martijn (who is usually Qpidoremix to me). As we sometimes discover, mailart is often about being human, about sharing the joys and sorrows of those we trade art with.

Martijn, take care. And tell me if this information is too personal to leave up on the blog.

un violon d'ingres

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Click the image above to view a beautiful e-booklet that Mick Boyle sent me on December 1st (another example in the growing field of e-mailart). In the booklet, Mick arranges five series of three photographs to examine how human beings create order out of disorder, narrative out of chaos. And thank Mick for gracing the planet with such a quiet and shimmering piece of art.

un violon d'ingres

Monday, December 06, 2004

From Top to Bottom, Roy is There

Arriving in my mailbox along with a dramatic envelope from Ruud Janssen was a quiet photocard by Roy Arenella. The image on the front of the card is of a small house sinking into the grey earth (which Roy has amended with some white ink scratched into the emulsion).

On the back of the card, Roy explains himself: that he covets my third floor (where I have my office, work area, library, archives, museum--and a spare bedroom and bathroom. Well, maybe. But I'm still a bit crowded in that space, and I sure don't keep it neat enough much of the time!

This mailing of Roy's is numbered 475 p/c, and includes some enigmatic figure walking in the pseudo-cancellation mark. This figure appears to be an X, surrounded by a rectangle, which is topped with a head and supported by two little legs walking towards the top of the postcard.

Roy Arenella, "Between A & C" (12 Jan 2004)

un violon d'ingres

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Painted Envelope

When this painted envelope arrived in my home, it must have made an impression on my son Tim, because he told me over the phone that I'd received some mailart. Until that moment, I had no idea my son even knew what mailart was. I don't spend much time talking to the family about it, since we have enough to talk about (and since they're not necessarily that interested). But Ruud's envelope is covered with dramatic strokes of acrylic paint that suggest a carnivorous garden to my eye.

Ruud Janssen, [Painted Envelope] (23 Nov 2004)

Unknown to my son, I'd seen the envelope already. Ruud is playing with space and time on his weblog, so he decided to post a copy of this envelope on his blog and wait to see if I'd run across it. Since I frequent the IUOMA blog, I ran across the image there before my son found it in our mailbox.

un violon d'ingres

DAY SEE (qbdp # 38)

Well, this is a little strange. A week ago, I begin creating a mailart mailing. These usually go out the day of creation, but I had troubles with this one.

First, I wanted to print (via an inkjet printer) a single visual poem on photo paper. No matter what I tried I couldn't get the poem to print on the paper correctly. Only a tiny bit of the image would print. So I took a screen shot of the poem in its natural environment (PageMaker 6.5), and I was able to print that version onto the paper.

Next, I had to glue fifteen little sheets of paper onto some cream-colored card. I don't relish gluing ever, but I succeeded. Unfortunately, then I had to press the cards flat, so I waited overnight.

The next day, a Monday, I took out the cards and rubberstamped them (with my address and the word "Postcard") and inscribed some colophonic information. By that time, the cards were ready. However, I waited until Tuesday, November 30th, to add the stamps, the addresses, and the notes.

On Wednesday, I mailed them off. On Thursday, I made a scan of my archival version. For two days, I rested. Then, today, I finally wrote this entry.

It takes me a while.

The remarkably lucky recipients of this card, which still curls quite a bit from the glue, are as follows:

1/15 Ruth and Marvin Sackner

2/15 Bob Grumman

3/15 Roy Arenella

4/15 kiyotei

5/15 Mick Boyle

6/15 Qpidoremix

7/15 Ruud Janssen

8/15 jcsyntheticsuk

9/15 Reed Altemus

10/15 Ficus strangulensis

11/15 j0llyr0ger

12/15 Scott McDonald

13/15 Scott Helmes

14/15 Erin Huth

15/15 qbdp

Geof Huth, "DAY SEE (OHH IIO)" (30 Nov 2004)

un violon d'ingres