Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cuttings and Dottings (Scrapmail # 2, qbdp # 46)

Holiday Inn Express, Room 321, Poughkeepsie, New York

I haven't hit the road in over a month, during which time I've accumulated a number of debts to other mailartists, so tonight (really, this morning) I created a fairly large edition of an issue of qbdp: eleven. This time, I once again used a collection of cards carved out of the dead bodies of failed calligraphic visual poems. Usually, I would add a little fidgetglyph to the reverse of the cards, and the title of that poem would serve double duty as the title of the issue of qbdp. But this time, the recipients of these cards had to settle for a hurriedly written note. Each number of these is distinguished by a small yellow dot of ink I added last night (a bit before midnight hit. This is the first item in qbdp without a title (save "Scrapmail # 2" and "qbdp # 46").

The multitudinous recipients of these anonymous cards are as follows:

1/11 (C1) Ruth and Marvin Sackner

2/11 (C2) Bob Grumman

3/11 (C3) Roy Arenella

4/11 (C4) Ruud Janssen

5/11 (D1) kiyotei

6/11 (D2) frips

7/11 (D3) Pierpaolo Limongelli

8/11 (D4) R. F. Côté

9/11 (E1) Jassy Lupa

10/11 (E2) Erin Huth

11/11 (E3) qbdp

And here are pictures of each of the cards, with the sets put together to show the complete image each series makes.

Geof Huth, Scrapmail # 2, C1-C4 (31 Mar 2005)

Geof Huth, Scrapmail # 2, D1-D4 (31 Mar 2005)

Geof Huth, Scrapmail # 2, E1-E3 (31 Mar 2005)

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Perchance to Dream

Pierpaolo Limongelli sent me this envelope in early February, but it took about a month to arrive in my mailbox, an exceedingly slow result even with the international postal system. The envelope Pierpaolo uses he collaged from a glossy advertising insert and pieces of mailart advertisement. It is a dream of selling ideas and concepts.

Inside the envelope, he includes an invitation for his Dream Project, and I have the dream to use already written down somewhere, so I'll pull it out and send it to Pierpaolo before May 30th. He also send me "collage of rubberstamps" sheet # 04-460 for the Archive Administration Centre in Belgium, which reminds me of the other sheets I must start and then send out. (I'm a slow add-and-pass guy.)

Pierpaolo Limongelli, Dream Project Envelope (7 Feb 2005)

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Hoedown in Asemiaville

Early this month, I received from kiyotei a card, the front of which consists of an aerial view of the colorful flower fields around Carlsbad, California, including an accurate US flag "depicted using flowers entirely." On the back appears "binado," an asemic text of kiyoteian delicacy.

kiyotei, "binado" (February 2005)

I am assuming that "binado" means "hoe" in this case, since that is what a "binador" is, but, hey, I don't know all the Spanish I should. If you work through this text, in red and green, you will run across shapes that suggest each letter of "binado," so maybe this is but a faux-asemic text. Yet these letters and pairs of letters are scattered through our field of vision, suggesting the work of the hoe to tear apart the red earth and allow the appropriate green to flourish.

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Friday, March 25, 2005

The Nature of Poetry

About three weeks ago, Roy Arenella read a posting of mine about creating art in nature, and he responded with this photocard created out of a photograph (from 26 Feb 1998) upon which he had etched a single tmetically altered word.

Roy Arenella, "DRA" (Winter 2004)

The caption incorporated into the image defines the thin white superstructure of the wing as not a part of nature perceived but a mere (or exalted) drawing of same. Roy's message on the back of the card concerns the difficulty in developing "visual poetries for nature."

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The I's Have It

I see that I'm more than a month behind on reviewing my correspondence, even though I have this wonderful piece by j0llyr0ger to consider.

j0llyr0ger, "Parallax Factor of the Letter I" (16 Feb 2005)

Mimicking Da Vinci's anatomical study of a man within a circle and a square, "Parallax Factor of the Letter I" presents a visual examination of the allographic variation of the letter I in different physical (typographic) forms. j0llyr0ger shows his hand: a printer's fist, one with a tight grip on the meaning of letterforms. And his choice of sample letter is a visual poetry classic: I, the letter representing unending consciousness, the letter which in its plural form (i's) appears to be a study of existence itself.

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Monday, March 07, 2005

Dust to Dust

Roy (calling me "gE(‡)F") explains on the back of this card that he appreciates best the simple handmarked cards of mine (rather, I suppose, than my more complicated constructions), cards that hold small distorted words upon their faces (rear or front). In a similar vein, Roy continues his Dictionary of Drawn Words with this simple "DusT."

Roy Arenella, "DusT" (23 Feb 2005)

Segregating the "us" in the middle of the word, Roy makes us think of both our unavoidable mortality and the need to clean our homes! This card from Roy is # 64C.

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The Dictionary of Drawn Words, Card by Card

Roy explains, on the back of this card to me, that he has since the beginning of this year been gathering together the scraps of paper upon which he has affixed "drawn words" and that he is re-drawing them into a small notebook. This first drawn word is "OTHER" but with the central "THE" drawn bold and tall. The central word somehow defines the entire word, bringing attention to the the-ness of the other.

Remarkably, this reminds me of my own "Interior Definitions," a small collection of self-defining words, of words defined by other words held within their interiors. But Roy's drawn words are less obvious than my creations.

Roy Arenella, "OTHER" (12 Jan 2005)

Only with the aid of a photographer's loupe could I determine that the number within the pseudo-cancellation mark, virtually crowded out by a giant R.-Crumb-like drawing of a surprised or worried man, is 63C.

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The First Ever Official Manifesto to Escape from Roy Arenella's Notebooks and Enter the Great World Outside

After being revealed over at dbqp, Roy Arenella decided to send me his artistic manifesto. It is a brief manifesto (being but four letters long), yet it expresses quite a bit.

It is a manifesto about poetry. We know this because the word it forms is, basically, "POEM." It is a manifesto that focuses our attention on the importance of little differences: the thick P to the gibbous O to the & that stands in for an E to the outlined M. It is manifesto about the power of minimalism.

Roy Arenella, "One-Word Manifesto" (22 Feb 2005)

The card that this arrives on is # 61C (a card that happens to be Roy's sixty-first mailing of the year). In the pseudo-cancellation mark (or shadow-postage-stamp), Roy has rubberstamped the tiniest weightlifter standing and holding a huge set of weights above his head. The power of the small.

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Torn and Taped

When does Jukka-Pekka Kervinen stop and rest? He seems to spend day and night cutting and pasting and twisting texts into new and interesting shapes. (Just check out his "mailXart" blog listed on the right, and follow that to his other blogs.)This time, Jukka has torn up bits of text and used them to create two archipelago-like collages on either side of a postcard. Jukka has, unexpectedly, taped (rather than glued) down each of the pieces of text.

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Obverse of Card (21 Feb 2005)

Another unexpectation: Jukka has included a bit of Finnish text (among the English) on this card. I can't recall his ever using Finnish in one of his pieces, though he probably has used his native language from time to time!

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Reverse of Card (21 Feb 2005)

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Half Way to Uncrosseyed (qbdp # 43.5)

Jassy Lupa received from me a card illustrated with my regular mailart fare, a fidgetglyph, but she doesn't quite seem to get it, so she sent me this little memorilization of her efforts to understand it and my effort to create it:

Jassy Lupa, "qbdp # 43.5" (15 Feb 2005)

Be sure to note the bold "NO!" on the lower edge. Jassy also marked the card with "Room 115" (the room Nancy and I were staying in when I created the card) and a drawing of pie a la mode (theoretically, invented by the hotel we were in at the time).

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Copy Works at Federal Spice

In a small brown envelope, there arrived in my mailbox a small color-photocopy work by copyartist Reed Altemus. It's dark multi-dimensional colors create shapes that are almost textual.

Reed Altemus, a copy work (14 Feb 2005)

Until tonight, I did not realize that this mailing included a small card in the shape of a business card, but it appears to be an announcement for a gallery show that I can summarize thusly:

Reed Altemus
"Copy Works"
21 Feb - 18 Apr 2005
Federal Spice
225 Federal Street
Portland, Maine
Mon-Fri 11-9
Sat 11-6

If you're somewhere near southern Maine in the next month and a half, a trip to Portland is in order.

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From Greenwich, in the Meantime

On Nancy's and my twenty-first wedding anniversary, at just about the time (4:50 pm) that we arrived in Cambridge, New York (not one of the famous Cambridges), Roy Arenella mailed us the following photocard from Greenwich, New York (not the famous Greenwich, and Roy's Greenwich is pronounced "Green Witch"). The strange coincidence—except it is not so much a coincidence, since Roy knew where I'd be that day—is that Nancy and I were separated from Roy at that point in time by only about eight and a half miles, or fifteen minutes of driving. The card, of course, headed off to the slightly more distant Schenectady, New York (the only one in the world).

Roy Arenella, "21!" (11 Feb 2005)

The pseudo-cancellation mark for this card—which, strangely, appears on the opposite side from the stamps themselves—includes no image within it, but is numbered "50something." The title of this blog entry is taken from Roy's simple message on the back of the card.

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From Alpha to Horseshoe, From A to Omega

From the quaint village of Rhinebeck, New York, in the Hudson Valley, Roy Arenella mailed me this card that makes one think about nearby Saratoga Springs, New York, the location of much of the horseracing in the state. But, of course, this card is about the fluctuating power of written language.

Roy Arenella, "Alpha Bets" (8 Feb 2005)

Note, for instance, that the omega is a horseshoe--thereby, reminding us of horses and racing, but also showing us that symbols can have many meanings, that meaning is an eellike beast.

This card is numbered 50C (the fiftieth item of the year, and a simple card). The stamp used on the card is a 33-cent "Secretariat Wins the Triple Crown" stamp (in case we missed the horseracing and betting references). This time the pseudo-cancellation stamp is a small square, perforated like a postage stamp and surrounding a tiny tipped-in square of paper, which includes the image of a horse-shaped toy that has wheels in place of legs.

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The Mark of the Feast: 777

Working away in Alton, Illinois, j0llyr0ger creates tiny publications and mails them off into the world. Last month, he began an ambitious project, Lucky Seven. Every seven days, beginning on 7 February 2005, he would create seven copies of a publication and mail it out to seven people. The result this time is a small book of seven poems, each printed only on a recto page. My favorite is probably this one:

I am the dread book
written in contrails of rust and dirge

I am the glyph written in the sand,
a harbinger washed away by the tide

I am the tension
the pull of heat

For more information on j0llyr0ger's project, visit the Lucky Sevens webpage, where we discover that the project is in "suspended animation for the nonce."

j0llyr0ger, Lucky Sevens, Vol. 1, No. 1 (7 Feb 2005)

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Digital Mailart Logo

Mailart aficionado and typographic genius Mick Boyle has been sending me his mailart electronically for a little while--and sometimes that makes me forget to record his activities for a little bit. But I'm catching up now. This recent piece is another beautiful meditation on the dbqpnacci sequence, this time focusing on qbdp, eponymously enough

Mick Boyle, two qbdp boys (7 Feb 2005)

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The Right Thing

For his first mailing to me ever, Belgian mailartist frips sends me this starkly beautiful political message:

frips, Obverse of "Don't Wrong" (2005)

In times like these, when we can count on no-one (or at least no government) to support human rights universally, this is a message worth trying out on the world. This card will not be with me for long:

frips, Reverse of "Don't Wrong" (2005)

This is a card I must add to and return. I'm unbelievably slow responding to such collaborative ventures, but I have in mind a bit of rubberstamping to add to this, so maybe I'll have this out of here by sometime this week!

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Unavoidable Messages

Somewhere on the non-Long-Island part of Long Island (that is, in one of the boroughs of New York City--and probably always in Queens), I've seen these message boxes above the flow of traffic when they are sending out strings of almost meaningless text ("test text," I presume). Somewhere on such a stretch of road, Roy Arenella caught this message:

Roy Arenella, "Words over All, as Beautiful as the Sky"
(5 Feb 2005)

What we might learn from it is that clear patterns may themselves be meaningless. But Roy thinks of Walt Whitman comparing the beauty of language (words) to the beauty of the clear sky. Roy explains himself:

Though the sky in this picture is more rainy than beautiful, Whitman's message here is unclouded. Henri Michaux, under another sky, writes: "The handcuffs of words are on for good. They are everywhere: Language forming, limiting, grouping. Establishing a society, a nation, locking it up. Everything placed under arrest, each word with its own way of appropriating the world."

This photocard from Roy is his 48th mailing of the year, and he has appropriately (or appropriatingly) rubberstamped within the boundaries of his pseudo-cancellation mark a couple of small clouds.

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What Cut of Beef is Each Famous Mailartist of the Present and the Past?

For some reason, at one point last month all my mailart mail was coming from Ruud Janssen, and the latest piece in this series was this envelope illustrated with the outline of a green bull, divided in a humorous manner into various cuts of beef, each identified by the name of a famous mailartist. Oh, to be Bill Gaglione! and have the greatest honor of all. As Jonathan Richman knew, girls could not resist Picasso's stare.

Ruud Janssen, Mailart Bull Envelope (Feb 2005)

Inside this envelope, Ruud has included four sheets for me to add rubberstampings to before mailing them off to others, in the hopes that eventually this sheet will make it to the Archive of the Administrative Center in Belgium. We will see. What Ruud might not know is that I used to create a number of handcarved rubberstamp visual poems--so at least I have something to work with!

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A Flurry of Fives, or Five Fives from Ruud Janssen

Ruud Janssen is too kind to me. He knows I feel an attachment to fives (by the way, this has everything to do with the date of my birth and the number of my siblings), so on 5 February 2005 he send me card number 05-055. (Let's hope he mails out up to 555 cards this year, since this will be the best year for fives for a long time.)

The front of the card Ruud has illustrated with one of his jolly and colorful paintings. I could start a little Gallery of Ruud given the number of paintings I've received from him!

Ruud Janssen, "05-055" (5 Feb 2005)

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A Ruddy-Checked Card

Lo, one month ago (plus two days), Ruud Janssen sent me the following unnumbered card with the message, "Hi Geof,/Try to figure out this card." Would that I could.

I'm now calling it "XAAAAX," based on its looks, but the green-blue footprints on the card also resemble old-fashioned snowshoes. The X's could be tens, I suppose and the putative doubled and mirrored A's could be V's. Maybe this is really "XVVVVX," or six fives (5 being the magical number of my life, as Ruud well knows). Maybe the initial half-X is actually just a design and this is five fives, which would give it greater force.

I'm full of supposition but empty of conclusion on this count.

Ruud Janssen, "XAAAAX" (3 Feb 2005)

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