Posts Tagged ‘fluxus scores’

Fluxus, Name Dropping, and Related Publications – by C. Mehrl Bennett

Fluxus and a few Dada books in my collection. -CMB

Fluxus involves small gestures, perhaps an aura of insignificance or the ‘everyday’, and invites repeat performances of an event score by the original artist or others who will often give credit to the original artist for writing the score. Because of “flux”, the performance will always be a little or a lot different each time it is performed. As the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus, once said, “ You could not step twice into the same rivers; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.”  (As quoted by Litsa Spathi at Facebook’s Fluxlist group.) He also said, “Nothing endures but change.” Thanks to Litsa Spathi for pointing out that this Greek philosopher recognized the Fluxus attitude very early on. (Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/heraclitus-quotes)

My spouse, John M. Bennett, and I were present in the audience when Dick Higgins did a reading at an art gallery in Cleveland. Our boys were toddlers at the time, and he seemed irritated that we brought them along, though we kept them quiet as we could. He and his wife, Alison Knowles, were original members of the historical art group known as Fluxus. Something Else Press was founded by Dick Higgins in 1963. It published many important texts and artworks by such Fluxus artists as Higgins, Ray Johnson, Alison Knowles, and Allan Kaprow, as well as publishing early Concrete Poetry and books by Bern Porter. Higgins emphasized the importance of inter-media, and created a chart to illustrate that important Fluxus concept.

The term FLUXUS came from the name of a magazine that Almus Salcius and George Maciunas planned to publish. The two friends opened a gallery in New York using the first initials of each of their names: The AG Gallery, in 1961. One of the first artists invited to exhibit there was Yoko Ono. Before the AG Gallery ever opened, Yoko and LaMonte Young had been hosting ‘salons’ at Yoko and Ichiyanagi’s artist loft on Chamber Street (in the lower Manhattan area now called SoHo). Among the writers/artists who gathered to perform at The Chamber Street Series were Dick Higgins, Jackson MacLow, and George Brecht. Maciunas was first introduced to these important Fluxus artists through that venue. Manifestations of Fluxus began simultaneously in Europe, at a time when Nam June Paik, Benjamin Patterson, and Emmett Williams were in Germany and got involved in Maciunas’ Fluxus productions in Cologne and Wiesbaden in the early 60’s. Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys are major Fluxus artists from Germany. As a freshman at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 1975, I was fortunate to witness Beuys perform one of his famous chalk board lectures in my foundation studies classroom! In 2017 we saw a Wolf Vostell exhibit at the University of Chicago, including one of his cars encased in cement which was displayed in the nearby parking garage. We were good friends with the experimental videographer, Jud Yalkut, an associate of Nam June Paik’s, after he left New York and moved to Dayton, Ohio.

Another important influence on the development of Fluxus was John Cage, first at the New School for Social Research in NYC with his course in ‘new music’ composition. George Brecht attended Cage’s class at The New School, and appreciated Cage’s idea of ambient sound and arranged silences as music. Brecht came up with the written ‘event’ score format for Fluxus performances (per an essay by Hannah Higgins in The Fluxus Reader, edited by Ken Friedman, where she further explains the ‘event’ performance on p. 32.) It’s important to note that Fluxus activities took place primarily outside the realms of official art institutions and utilized mass media directed to international audiences, but also to local communities. This was at a time when small press journals and newspapers of ‘the undergound press’ were forming. Friedman taught at the Experimental College of San Francisco State College in the 60’s. He edited THE FLUXUS READER, first published in 1998, and then released it in a digital edition in 2012 to commemorat the 50th anniversary of Fluxus. He made it available to the average Joe via this FREE PDF download at hdl.handle.net/1959.3/42234 

With his students at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Cage staged his first musical ‘happening’. Ray Johnson, who went on to be considered as ‘the father of mail art’, was one of his students. Merce Cunningham and Cage incorporated chance and indeterminancy into their performance works, drawing on Oriental philosophies like Zen Buddhism and the I Ching. They also strove to connect ‘art’ and ‘life’ [an important Fluxus concept] by using everyday movements and objects in experimental dance and music and avant-garde performances.   In that new age of television, Cage appeared on the game show “I’ve Got A Secret” in 1960 and performed Water Walk – search “John Cage Water Walk” on YouTube to watch the video.

FLUXUS WEST was under the auspices Don Boyd (Mt. Vernon, OH) until he passed away in 2015 in a nursing home, where we visited him a couple times. (Not that Fluxus is pro-hierarchial.) The mantel of Director of Fluxus West had been passed to Don in 1975 by Ken Friedman, who first staged Fluxus events in the sixties in California (in San Diego and later in San Francisco)  and also in Illinois. (Friedman lives/works as Dean of the Faculty of Design at Swineburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia). The University of Iowa Alternative Traditions in the Contemporary Arts is the official repository of Friedman’s papers and research notes. The Silverman Fluxus Collection at the Museum of Modern Art, Archiv Sohm at Stadtsgalerie Stuttgart, and the Mandeville Department of Special Collections at the University of California also hold extensive archives on Friedman’s work of the 1960s and 1970s.

Around 1970 Dick Higgins brought Something Else Press to Newhall California to join the California Institutes of the Arts and Friedman became general manager of Something Else Press while continuing to direct Fluxus West, though Higgins moved Something Else Press back to the East Coast in 1971. Emmett Williams was Editor in Chief of Something Else Press from the mid-60’s to early 70’s. Around 1970, Fluxus West sent out feelers and established a presence in Cologne Germany. Al Hanson, a major performance artist specializing in ‘happenings’, was active on the Cologne art scene at the time. He was an excellent teacher and he explains a lot about the ‘alternative arts scenes’ and its evolution in this book, AL HANSON: AN INTROSPECTIVE  (see pp. 32 thru 36.)

Dr. Michael Weaver from the University of Exeter in England, at Friedman’s suggestion, launched a Fluxus West Centre in England. Emmett Williams, per Wikipedia, was the European coordinator of Fluxus in the 1960s, and he lived in Berlin but traveled to Paris, France, and associated with the fluxus artist, Robert Filliou. I don’t quite understand where the division between Fluxus West and Fluxus East lies, because Don Boyd was supposedly coordinator for Fluxus West in the USA as of 1975, but I know there is also a Fluxus South in Central and South America. We met Clemente Padín, a visual poet and performance artist, in Montevideo Uruguay, on two different occasions. My spouse and I were invited to present at his Experimental Writing Symposium, and returned a few years later for Mundial Poetico, where Clemente Padín was one of the performers at the Modern Art Museum event and I followed him with my own performance. Both performances involved the written word and the participation of others. Many other international writers and artists participated to these events, also. Josep Calleja of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain, organized a parade of the alphabet through the streets of Montevideo, where we all wore T-shirts he designed to represent all the letters in the Spanish alphabet.

We were present in the audience when Alison Knowles did a multi-media performance in Miami FL about 10 years after we’d met her husband, Dick Higgins. We happened to be in Miami for the opening of a curated Visual Poetry exhibition. Then, another decade later we experienced her bean bath at North Western University’s Block Museum. It’s wired up to microphones so it amplifies noises made when people walk in the sandbox of dry beans. In 2017 (on my birthday) we traveled to the Carnegie in Pittsburgh to see The Allison Knowles Retrospective. Her bean bath was there, but also a huge book installation and copy machine art and many other interesting projects. Many were conceived around everyday items like shoes or beans. A braiding station was set up with simple instructions for one or two people to braid strands of yarn. That inspired my own braiding event at the 2019 Toronto Fluxfest  with two other performers, which I dedicated to Alison Knowles. Three performers each held a skein of yarn and took turns weaving in and out between each other to create a long braid. The same braid was continued at the annual  AfterMAF event in Roanoke, Virginia, a few weeks later. We’ve been attending both annual events for 10 years now. One of the performers who often came to Fluxfest, Jennifer Wiegel, came to AfterMAF (Roanoke, VA at Art Rat Studios) and performed there in 2019. Many of the performances at AfterMAF are literary, dance, music, poetry, puppet shows, artist performances, and often collaborative events with a neo-Dada absurdist bent to them, and usually a collage station and junk art installation are set up for public creative activity. Some famous Fluxus event pieces and some contemporary event pieces were performed in 2011 at the MAF (Marginal Arts Festival) when Fluxus artist Keith Buchholz (St. Louis, Missouri), and my spouse, John M. Bennett, and our two sons, Ben and John Also, were in attendance. A FluxMazz took place at a local church, where one of the activities was for everyone to bash each other with plastic bags of Wonder Bread, and other Fluxus ritualistic events took place. As part of the MAF parade, one of Philip Corner’s 1962 ‘piano activities’ was performed by a group after they pushed a piano on wheels down the street. Watch the action at this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xefDbQshqkI John Also and another person were both wielding long handled axes right next to one another – glad no one got hurt! Note: Keith Buchholz has been a careful archivist of present day Fluxfests, of which he was the primary organizer for the first nine years in Chicago Illinois and once in New York City. He was handed the Fluxus West Director mantle by Donald E. Boyd not long before Don passed away in 2015, and was entrusted by the Boyd family to safely archive Don’s fluxus art, ephemera, and papers in his Mt. Vernon, Ohio, studio.

I learned quite a lot about the history of Fluxus when we visited Special Collections at the University of Iowa Library, where a wonderful collection of fluxus ephemera, objects, Fluxkits, and other documents reside. The Fluxus West Collection (1959 – 2003) began with an archive donation from Ken Friedman. The highlight of the visit was viewing editions of “Fluxkits” shown to us by Special Collections librarian Pete Balestrieri. 142 objects from the collection have been digitized and you can look at them online now via https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/islandora/search?type=dismax&islandora_solr_search_navigation=0&f%5B0%5D=mods_relatedItem_host_titleInfo_title_ms%3AFluxus%5C%20West%5C%20Collection%2C%5C%201959%5C-2003

We met Pete Balestrieri again in Washington DC about five years later at a Smithsonian event held for archive librarians, as we were invited by west coast mailart scholar (mail artist, painter, and former librarian), John Held Jr., to participate in the workshop day by sharing some of our own mailart archives. I had only just donated 40 years of my archives to The Ohio State University Library the summer before, so I only had a few months of recent archives to share, but the experience of organizing those ten plus boxes for OSU Rare Books & Special Collections was foremost in my mind.

So far, I’ve not only mentioned Fluxus, but also neo-Dada and mail art (or correspondence art), and they are interconnected by similar attitudes and some of the same artists, writers or musicians have practiced in all of these fields. Example: Duchamp designed a set of chess piece rubber stamps with the idea of playing a game of chess via mail posts. Those fields are international in scope, and lived side by side with other avant-garde initiatives like visual poetry (important contributors from Latin American mail artists), Inism or Inismo (Gabrielle Bertozzi and Gabriella Giansante of Italy and the late Paul Thaddeus Lambert of Oregon), the Gutai artist group (the first radical post-war artistic group in Japan, example: Shozo Shimamoto from the Osaka area), conceptual art, minimalism, experimental music (John Cage), among others.

An important archive based in Budapest Hungary is called ARTPOOL (begun and maintained by György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay, and along with artistamp and mailart archives, it includes artist’s books, visual and sound poetryconceptual art, and of course, Fluxus, especially Fluxus East, and installation and performance art.

George Maciunas was from Kuanas, Lithuania. RE: Wikipedia 1st paragraph:

George Maciunas (English: /məˈtʃuːnəs/LithuanianJurgis Mačiūnas; November 8, 1931 – May 9, 1978 d. of pancreatic cancer) was a Lithuanian American artist, born in Kaunas. He was a founding member and the central coordinator of Fluxus, an international community of artists, architects, composers, and designers. Other leading members brought together by this movement included Ay-OJoseph BeuysJonas MekasGeorge BrechtDick HigginsYoko OnoNam June Paik and Wolf Vostell.

Lithuania came out with an official postage stamp of Maciunas in 2016. George Maciunas migrated to the USA and died at the age of 47 from pancreatic cancer in 1978, in Massachusetts. He was educated in art and architecture, and was the original creator of artists’ multiples such as the Fluxkit, often with contributions from others members of Fluxus. He wrote three books about the history of the avant-garde, the first of which concentrated on Fluxus. In 1962 Raoul Hausmann, an original member of Berlin Dada, had suggested that he stop using the term ‘neo-dada’ and instead concentrate on the term ‘Fluxus’. (See p.40 in the book, MR. FLUXUS, by Emmett Williams and Ann Noël, 1997, Thames and Hudson, London). Other little oddities about Maciunas from Emmett William’s A Flexible History of Fluxus Facts & Fictions: He was color blind, he did not smoke or drink and prohibited people from smoking in his presence, he was often in debt due to real estate speculation (he wanted to buy and fix up properties in the area now called SoHo), he was a closeted cross-dresser for most of his life, and he was blind in one eye from an altercation with a “mafioso”.  Shortly before George died, he married Billie Maciunas and as part of the “Flux Wedding” rituals, they exchanged clothes (and thus genders). Billie Maciunas wrote and published The Eve of Fluxus, a fluxmemoire – published in 2010 by Arbiter Press, Orlando and New York. A black and white photo series of the clothing exchange, “Black and White Piece”, February 25, 1978, photographed by Hollis Melton, is included in the book. This was George Maciunas’ final public performance, accompanied by Claudio Monteverdi’s Zefiro torna, which he also requested to be played at his funeral.

Charlotte Moorman, and to some extent Carolee Schneemann, because they would perform in the nude, were at first excluded from historical associations with the Fluxus realm, but the feminist intent behind the focus on the naked body should be credited these days, and they are included more often than excluded in today’s fluxus histories. Nam June Paik collaborated with the cellist, Charlotte Moorman, and Paik was always listed as a fluxus member in most accounts, while Charlotte Moorman was often excluded.  

Charlotte Moorman died in 1991 and Nam June Paik died in 2006.

Dick Higgins died in 1998. Note: He had a fall-out with Maciunas concerning Higgins’ support of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen. There was a European center of avant-gaarde ideas and performances at the atelier in Cologne, Germany, of Stockhausen’s artist wife, Mary Bauermeister, which attracted the participation of LaMonte Young, Nam June Paik, Emmett Williams, Wolf Vostell, John Cage, and Benjamin Patterson. Nam June Paik was a student of Stockhausen’s and lobbied Maciunas for inclusion of Stockhausen into the Fluxus fold (per FLUXUS EXPERIENCE, Hannah Higgins, University of California Press, 2002). Maciunas felt that Stockhausen’s music still clung to conventional European music traditions (twelve tones of the octave and regularity of beat) and labeled him as “elitist”, but George still made overtures to Bauermeister to contribute her space for Fluxus performances in Cologne. So really, it appears that Fluxus was an international development, and not ultimately beholden to one single individual. Whether Fluxus members found each other in Yoko Ono’s studio, or in Robert Filliou’s sphere of influence in Paris or in Berlin or in Cologne, it would seem that they could recognize the Fluxus attitude when they saw it.

Emmett Williams died in 2007 in Berlin. His book, A Flexible History of Fluxus Facts & Fictions, includes 70 ‘Kunstfibel’ collages, which were digitally remastered by Ann Nöel (a British artist who participated in Fluxus performances, had worked for edition hansjörg mayer and for Something Else Press, and was married to Emmett Williams) was published in 2006 by edition hansjörg mayer, London and Bangkok, and is distributed by Thames and Hudson. In 1991 edition hansjörg mayer had also published his book My Life in Fluxus – and Vice Versa.

Recently deceased: Carolee Schneemann (2019), Geoffrey Hendricks (2018), and Ben Patterson (2016).

Some living first generation fluxus artists as of winter 2019-2020:

Ben Vautier is 84 years old, and lives and works in Nice, France. The artist, Jon Hendricks, has curated important big Fluxus related exhibitions by both Ben Vautier and by Yoko Ono, and was a long time archivist for the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus collection which ended up with MOMA NYC. Per Hannah Higgin’s book FLUXUS EXPERIENCE (Hannah is the daughter of Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles), “Jon Hendricks was a friend of Maciunas who sometimes collaborated with him, and was a vocal supporter of Fluxus since the mid-1960s..”

Yoko Ono is 86 years old, lives in Manhattan NY, and most recently had a retrospective of her art at MOMA NYC in 2015. Grapefruit, originally published in 1964 by Wunternaum press as a limited edition of 500 in Tokyo, was Yoko’s first publication of what she calls ‘conceptual instructions’. Acorn is a similar collection published nearly fifty years later in 2013 by Thomas Allen and Son Ltd. in the USA and in Canada. Another survivor is fellow NYC artist and musician, La Monte Young (remember that he helped curate salon programs at Yoko’s NYC studio.) Young and Jackson MacLow (d.2004) edited An Anthology of Chance Operations (designed by George Maciunas). The PDF is available for download at http://ubutext.memoryoftheworld.org/AnAnthologyOfChanceOperations.pdf

Alison Knowles, Larry Miller (both of NYC NY), Mieko Shiomi (Japan),  Eric Anderson (Denmark, and important part of Fluxus East), and Owen Smith (Director of the Intermedia MFA program at the University of Maine) are all still active fluxus artists from the first generation, and there must be others who were affiliated with Fluxus in the 60’s and 70’s who may or may not still be active artists, and many I’m just not aware of. Hannah Higgins has mentioned in one of her books that the number of original members was around 30. For instance, I’m not familiar with the Japanese artist, Takao Iijima, better known by his art name Ay-O, or the rainbow man because of his brightly colored graphic paintings, and his name is often mentioned in Fluxus histories online and in books. Wikipedia says he “has been associated with Fluxus since its international beginnings in the 1960s.”

There are critics and art historians who say that Fluxus was a ‘movement’ which died when George Maciunas passed away in 1947. Meantime, the fluxus attitude lives on in younger generations. Most of them hold deep respect and appreciation for their predecessors, and they help keep the old event scores alive by performing them again with due credit given at Fluxfest gatherings, along with new contemporary scores. I’ve often seen Yoko Ono’s Light A Match event performed, and at the 2019 Toronto Fluxfest a painted canvas was laid on the ground of the open doorway to the gallery for people to trod upon as they entered – an early event score by Yoko Ono from a series she wrote that utilized the traditional artist’s stretched canvas. Drip Music by George Brecht (1959 – 1961) is another popular score. Whenever I come across an old disposable violin (three times now!) I save it for a performance of Nam June Paik’s One for Violin Solo (1962).

* https://www.artandeducation.net/announcements/109558/fluxus-reader-free-digital-edition

More online info on Fluxus history here, via The Fluxus West Collection (1959 – 2003): https://thestudio.uiowa.edu/fluxus/history#movement

Understand more about the fluxus attitude and current events at Alan Revich’s blog here: https://www.digitalsalon.com/ where you can also download the Fluxus Performance Workbook, edited by Ken Friedman, Owen Smith, and Lauren Sawchyn as a FREE PDF via http://www.digitalsalon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/fluxusworkbook.pdf

Alison Knowles’ BRAID piece is on p.70 of the Fluxus Performance Workbook.

George Maciunas Fluxus Manifesto

COW ART IS DEAD

LONG LIVE COW ART

Nonsense is an advocate for I N si G nificant art

I can READ a RED cow

I can RIDE a BLUE cow

As the sun sets the flies on the YELLOW cow stop fly – – –

I N G

c. mehrl bennett 10/30/2019

See the Feb.2020 issue of OTOLITHS, editor Mark Young, at this link to read my Ask A Cow poems… https://the-otolith.blogspot.com/2019/11/c-mehrl-bennett.html

“Ask A Cow” is a phrase I misheard that was part of a recorded telephone message which played while I was on hold, waiting to make a doctor appointment. The actual phrase was “Ask Us How”… I have called back to listen again to the message and it still sounds like “Ask A Cow”.  So the intersection between life and art is serendipitous, sometimes!

Below: The 1982 mailart cow graphic by Guglielmo Achille Cavellini (GAC, 11 September 1914 – 20 November 1990), an infamous Italian mailartist, famous for self-historification, was based on a 1978 (approximately) bull graphic by Carlo Battista The word “INFORMAZIONE” was one of many monikers which Battista had invented for himself. Battista’s original graphic (per a letter by Vittore Baroni to Chuck Welch, dated Feb. 1986) can be identified by deliberately misspelled famous painters’ names, and it was created to include Cavellini’s name among the well-known artists of the time. Another mailartist, Marlon Rockola, created a rubberstamp of the same image but left out Cavellini and “Informazion” and substituted the names of artists in his own mailart network. There have been an exponential number of versions ever since, with various names and different graphic versions, and using different sorts of animals as well.

Image by Guglielmo Achille Cavellini (b. 11 September 1914 / d. 20 November 1990)

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Remnants from one of my Fluxfest Chicago event scores (Fluxfest Chicago is an annual event organized by Keith Buchholz)- rearranged in various compositions on one of the glass block lights in the floor of the Rotunda Room at the Chicago Cultural Center, Friday May 27, 2016.

The original performance score happened in a gallery on Staten Island NY many years ago. I wore a fabric belt – same material as my shirt – took it off and swirled it into a spiral on the floor – then cut it up with grid-like cross cuts and offered the pieces to the audience. This was during NYC Fluxfest (2011), organized by Keith Buchholz, with additional Staten Island events organized by Mary Campbell and Viv Dey Dada.

At the Chicago Cultural Center event, I wore a long black scarf with gold metallic dots on it around my waste over a black T-shirt. Again, I swirled the material into a spiral then cut it up, but this time I wanted to incorporate the glass block floor light instead of sharing with the audience. I made one arrangement and called it the end of the event, and then a break was called. While everyone else went to an adjoining room, I took the opportunity to rearrange pieces into various compositions, documenting with a photo each time.

Fluxfest Chicago 2016 will be happening around and on Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. What sort of performance scores would one might experience there?  Well, here is a good definition I found today via a Facebook post that referenced this wordpress site:

https://guitai.wordpress.com/

fluxus street theater.jpg

Photo and Maciunas quote below are from the INTRODUCTION post at guitai.wordpress.com

“Art-amusement must be simple, amusing, unpretentious, concerned with insignificances, require no skill or countless rehearsals, have no commodity or institutional value.” George Maciunas, Fluxus Manifesto (1965).

Here is a link to download a publication of fluxus scores that came mostly from participants at the 2014 Chicago Fluxfest – kindly assembled, edited, and produced by Mary Campbell, with some contributions from the art community that gathers annually at this event.  https://archive.org/details/fluxfest2014

For more information on Fluxfest Chicago as it becomes available, look for the Fluxfest Chicago page on Facebook.

Flux On Flux Off poster

View video for bits & pieces of the FLUX ON / FLUX OFF

 

13 X 5 is available as a small saddle stampled booklet printed by Luna Bisonte Prods.

It consists of the following thirteen collaborative cinquains from a 9/13/2014

gathering at a XENIA OHIO restaurant after the fluxus event with five people:

C. Mehrl Bennett

John M. Bennett

Jonathan Stangroom

Jennifer Weigel

Reid Wood

 

Muchos  

Huevos fritos

Even in Spanish, too

I’m just not bilingual enough

To know

 

Sheet hole

On a road trip

Hotel room enigma

Purple magma glowing onword

Vamos!

 

Of it

Noteworthiness 

Carries better reward

Nothing for it to be famous

Or off

 

Will we 

Have more of  it

Bananas and loose leaf

Foambook sandwich swallowed real fast

We will

 

Fly fish

Two eyes in back

Jumpy maggots fall off

Boring football field on TV

Turned off

 

Using one line from each author from first five poems:

 

Of it

Two eyes in back

Hotel room enigma

Foamback sandwich swallowed fast

To know

 

Using C. Mehrl Bennett lines from first five poems:

 

Muchos

Two eyes in back

Bananas and loose leaf

Nothing for it to be famous

Vamos!

 

Using John M. Bennett lines from first five poems:

 

Sheet hole

huevos fritos

Jumpy maggots fall off

Foambook sandwich swallowed real fast

Or off

 

Using Jonathan Stangroom lines from first five poems: 

 

Of it

On a road trip

Even in Spanish, too

Boring football field on TV

We will

 

Using Jennifer Weigel lines from first five poems: 

 

Will we

Noteworthiness

Hotel room enigma

I’m just not bilingual enough

Turned off

 

Using Reid Wood lines from first five poems:

 

Fly fish

Have more of it

Carries better reward

Purple magma glowing onward

To know

 

Using lines from Reid Wood and Jennifer Weigel: 

 

Flyfish

Noteworthiness

Carries better reward

I’m just not bilingual enough

To know

 

Using lines from Jonathan Stangroom, C. Mehrl Bennett, and John M. Bennett:

 

Sheet hole

On a road trip

Bananas and loose leaf

Foamback sandwich swallowed real fast

Vamos!

A few examples of C performing fluxus events (her own or scores by other people) and also others performing C’s scores.

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Different people try to explain fluxus:

  • Vimeo FIRST
  • Vimeo SECOND
  • Youtube SEVENTH “Um um um um um”..etc. from interviews at the 2013 Chicago Fluxfest by Viv dey Dada.
  • Youtube EIGHTH – EDUCATE yourself with these historical fluxus photos & an informative narration by Allen Bukoff.

Two early films by John McClintock: Documentary about C. Mehrl and John M. Bennett’s meeting through mailart, their call for mailart in connection with their wedding, and the actual wedding event on July 4, 1980; and a John M Bennett poem acted out by John and C in 1982:

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Photos taken by Jokie X. Wilson at the Dorchester Projects, Chicago IL, Fluxfest 2/22/13

On the 50th anniversary (6/16/12) of Nam June Paik’s “One for Violin Solo”,
C. Mehrl Bennett re-enacted Paik’s fluxus score and posted it online at:
http://youtu.be/cNJc6BZJeY0
The smashed violin was reglued (as suggested by Mark Bloch) before the 2013 Chicago Fluxfest
for an ENCORE performance with the same instrument. (See photos below)

Photos by John M. Bennett taken at the Dorchester Projects on 2/22/13:

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Photos by Adamandia Kapsilis

Click image to view large.

At left: Composite of photos by Adamandia Kapsalis of the event.

a>CLICK HERE to watch C SMASH VIOLIN on Jun 16th 2012 at 2:23pm. Video by John M Bennett.
In honor of the exact 50 year anniversary TO THE DAY of the Nam June Paik piece “One for Violin Solo,” C Mehrl Bennett smashed a violin onto a wooden table on front stoop of her home in Columbus OH USA. This event came off in collusion with the fluxus micro fest in nyc (between 2pm and 4pm, June 16; hosted by Jane Wang with special guest, Bibiana Padilla Maltos) as part of Mark Bloch’s “Öne for Violin Ensemble.”
Notice the three curlique branches of ceramic mobile echo the two F holes of the violin. C made that mobile years ago. Birds & maple leaves move in the wind which helps mark the time element. Encore involves glueing violin back together and mailing it (in it’s case with it’s bow) to Mark Bloch or Bibiana Padilla Maltos. Part II is in the works.

Below is today’s version of my chapbook published by Fluxpress, St. Louis, MO, early in July 2011.

26 fluxneXus scores by C. Mehrl Bennett

 

PART ONE:

Eleven fluxneXus scores written in 2011:

(Dedicated to John M. Bennett)

Person A walks around outside taking photographs of objects that strike A as interesting compositions. Person B follows behind, taking photos of the same subject matter that A has selected.

Dry  a load of green clothes and then gather lint from the dryer vent filter.

Form a round flat disk from the lint and then form a disk of glue the same size on a postcard. Glue the lint to postcard and then give to a friend.

Dry a load of blue clothes and then gather lint from the dryer vent filter.

Form a round flat disk from the lint and then form a disk of glue the same size on a postcard. Glue the lint to postcard and then give to a friend.

Dry a load of red clothes and then gather lint from the dryer vent filter.

Form a round flat disk from the lint and then form a disk of glue the same size on a postcard. Glue the lint to postcard and then give to a friend.

Tie together a jump rope, a yoyo, and a flashlight.

Turn on the flashlight and turn off  all other lights in vicinity.

Three people each select one of the items and performs with it as a prop.

The score is finished when the person with the flashlight turns the lights back on.

Place three flower pots upside down on a table.

Using the drainage holes in each pot, fill one with red marbles, another with yellow marbles, and another with blue marbles.

Three persons lift up the three pots upon the count of “Red, Yellow, Blue!”

Create a spiral on the floor with a very long shoelace or with string.

Cut the spiral along four lines that form a grid over the spiral.

Tie the pieces back together, end to end, and in the final stage

secure the fluxneXlace around your neck, or around the neck of another.

Assign numbers one through nine to nine people.

Give them each a wind chime.

Ask them to scatter around the area and to ring the chimes when

you randomly call out their numbers.

You must also include the number ten FOR SILENCE.

(Dedicated to Wilma Duguay)

Braid twine into a necklace, beading wooden alphabet beads into the necklace as you weave. The phrase “PISS ON A ROPE” should be spelled out… TWICE.

Secure the ends and then mail this fluxneXlace to Cecil Touchon.

(Dedicated to Mark Bloch)

Organize your own artist’s group.

Do not invite anyone else to join.

(Dedicated to Billie Maciunas)

Bake the word FLUXUS as six cutout cookies.

Mail one cookie to each remaining FLUXUS member (still alive).

If there are no longer six FLUXUS members alive, then eat the remaining letters.

If there are more than six FLUXUS members alive, bake more “FLUXUS” for them. Note: This may be a never-ending piece or a very short piece, depending on your perspective.

PART TWO:

Eleven fluxneXus scores gleaned from the history of C Mehrl Bennett:

1961

Stand in back of class room full of first graders and scream out your name, as in, “My name is ——— —–!”

1969

Get all dressed up for the sock hop. Walk across town to the tennis court where the dance is being held. Stand behind fence and

watch for two minutes. Walk back home.

1971

Staring Contest for Two People:

You sit propped up on your bed, reading a book but also facing the other person (who sits in a chair staring at you).

Every few seconds, glance up from your book over your glasses, to peek at the other person.

Do this until the other person gets bored and leaves.

1972

Hold open front door  so that only your forearm and hand get wet, as it is raining outside. Stay there for a long time in that position.

1978

At an art gallery with a display of small press chapbooks, leave a small press chapbook of your choice to share one of the pedestals or tables when no one is looking.

1979

Travel to a big city with the same first letter as your first name. On the way there, notice signage that contains that letter as a significant capitalized font.

1987

(Gender specific fluxneXus score)

Eat a piece of pumpkin pie right before you go into labor.

1990

Carry a restaurant packet of two saltine crackers in your purse or pocket. When you are accosted by a religious zealot spouting dogma or shoving a religious pamphlet at you, offer him/her a packet of crackers.

2008

(Dedicated to John M. Bennett)

Boil three eggs and add them to a bowl of three unboiled eggs.

Mix them up. Crack eggs open by banging on your head.

If egg was boiled, peel and eat it. Continue to crack eggs, peel & eat, until you discover a raw egg.

Document the raw egg yolk with a photo.

2009

(Dedicated to my dad)

Drive six hundred and fifty miles, get out of your car.

Stay for five days.

Drive six hundred and fifty miles, get out of your car.

Do this every four weeks.

2010

At a beachfront, preferably in Guatemala, collect twigs, palm tree debris, rocks, and shells.  Use these to construct a temporary sculpture near the water by leaning, by stacking, and by strategical placement.

PART THREE:

Four FluxneXus scores created & performed by CMB at Chicago Fluxfest 2/19/11

 

A spontaneous collaboration created in Chicago with Alan Revich:

Person A walks around multiple times in a revolving door while Person B goes through door first time and stands quietly outside looking in.

Person A asks Person B to hold his/her hat like a bowl.

A stands on chair and pours a glass of water into B’s hat.

A pulls up outer shirt, dips toothbrush into B’s hat, paints “X” on undershirt.

A pulls down outer shirt and signals end of performance.

Later on, after water evaporates from undershirt:

A takes off his/her hat and places it on top of  B’s hat.

A turns B around, pushes B off center stage, steps up on chair.

A pulls up outer shirt to demonstrate that the “X” has evaporated.

A pulls down outer shirt and signals end of performance.

Composition for Nine Voices with Two Incidental Sections (abbrev: CfNVwTIS) was composed in 2009 & directed by CMB for the Be Blank Consort (abbrev: BBC). The score involves nine horizontal lines created by shadows, manipulated digitally and scored by CMB, and also two diagonal shadow lines which **signal timing of two incidental performances where they cross horizontal lines. The lines are sectioned into 10 parts; performance starts at “one” and ends at “eleven”. Wind chimes are given to some of the BBC to ring as the score signals (blue) and each read different BBC scores of their choice, varying the volume as signaled by their respective linear shadow in the score, as the director counts aloud slowly from one to eleven. Two performers approach  from left and right to center stage & perform “incidents” briefly on **cue, then return to the left and right stage.

Chicago Fluxfest CfNVwTIS Variations:

Four members of the audience are given wind chimes, told to disperse in four directions, and to ring chimes when the spirit moves them. One of the incidents involved is the pouring of  one-half  the water from one cup into another. After incidents are over, that performer is at the opposite side of stage from director and has set one half-full glass on the floor at his feet, and continues to hold the other half-empty glass. The director is rotating a wind chime once with her right arm during each count. At her count of “8” (and rotating wind chime throughout), director crosses the stage to opposite performer and takes his half empty glass of water with her left hand, simultaneously kicking over the glass of water at his feet, then walks back to her starting position by the count of 10. (Performance volume winds down significantly at the count of 11.)