TIA 2005: Art from Ephemera (Mail Art and the Internet)
Text and Image Arts
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Fall 2007 - Spring 2009

Friday, February 29, 2008

Postcrossing - Postcards Traveling the World

I just came across this site today. Postcrossing is a project that allows anyone to exchange postcards (paper ones, not electronic) from random places in the world. As usual, I like this because it's playing with the intersection between the tangible and the truly ephemeral, using the website to connect people from all over the world who in turn receive paper postcards from other members. The project also, although perhaps not intentionally, echoes the Mail Art mantra of "senders receive."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Do you like to color?

This projects main reason is to invoke the inner child in people of all ages. Everyone loves to color and hopefully the people have chosen to participate in this project will prove that everyone has child like qualities to them.

If you would like to participate please feel free to e-mail me @ Erinfili87@gmail.com


Hey Look!
i got new monsters and i'm taking submissions, from anyone :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

art + blog = blogart?

Rhizome posted a call for submissions of art projects that use blogging technologies last summer and I finally found a list of their resulting selections. The call was initiated by Java Museum. I find their website and various blog-like pages incredibly confusing and frankly, very poorly designed, at least from a user's perspective. It took some serious digging to actually get to a list - with links (what a concept for a website?!) - of the blogs that were selected. I even left a comment on this page as to how nice it'd be to have their list of artists' names link to their projects, but it looks like my comment either disappeared into the digital ether or was deleted.

At any rate, lucky for you, I managed to find a list of all the projects, with descriptions and links, and I've picked out a dozen or so I find interesting.

Urban Squares
A collection of photos, panoramas, and text that "explores visual and artistic aspects of public urban squares (plazas) as a nucleus of any neighborhood. We are interpreting/translating their language about the urban morphology and fundamental values in the overall social integration and sustainability of the urban life."

Whose Body
This blog is a site where narratives about identity are played out. You are invited to join in.

Lapsus Linguae/Slip of the Tongue
Lapsus Linguae is Latin, meaning a 'slip of the tongue'. I have a lot of those. Some of my favourite works starts with that spark that happens when saying the wrong thing comes out just the right way. Lapsus Linguae began as writing exercise of sorts, an attempt to note these slips of the tongue. Then, as I began thinking of the bolg as place to publish, I would force myself to act on these seemingly small ideas while they were still fresh in my mind. Generally I work very slowly. Lapsus Linguae has helped me generate a massive amount of new writing on a wide variety of topics, and to get it into a state finished enough to post in a short amount of time. I have become more alert to the stories lurking in the every day. I used to use Lapsus Linguae to post information about my publications and events, but increasingly I find other people so much more interesting to write about. On occasion I also post responses to things happening in the news. The blog is turning me into a social archivist. See, it looks like I mean to say social activist, but really I mean social archivist. A slip of the tongue indeed.

Little Blue Book
Little Blue Book is a collection of short writings I made whilst traveling in London from 1994-1999. It is both a diary, a fictional account and a place for fantastical tales. The project is ongoing and has another 30 pages or so to go. As the cover says "These are my stories may they fall on deaf ears and be percolated in the coffee bars on nowhere."

Camera Toss
A showcase photo-blog for the "best of" camera tossing and general musings on this form of kinetic photography.

Tea Blog
Tea Blog is an ongoing project by British artist Ellie Harrison, which launched on 1 January 2006. Every time Ellie has a cup of tea (or a different type of hot drink) she notes down the thought which is most on her mind during the first few sips. These thoughts are then uploaded to the Tea Blog at regular intervals. Tea Blog aims to expand indefinitely over the next few years, developing over-time into a vast database of thoughts – a diary of day-to-day life via the ritual of tea-drinking.

Error (Image)
The project is a blog that is composed of broken links, error messages, broken and open guts html code and images made with error messages in new media art. It is a commentary on the danger of new media being lost in archiving as it and its technology ages, the folly of the fetish of the new in new media and a look at errors and error messages as text and image art and commentary.

This is an ongoing open call for net based art regarding the topic of complexity. This blog will showcase the ongoing submissions continually on first come first serve basis. Three entries already posted are given as examples. Participants are asked to submit writing through email and visuals as either jpeg, gif, wmv, or mov files. The subject is complexity. In November 2006 I gave a keynote lecture "Managing Complexity" at an annual meeting of financial controllers in Vienna. While I was asked to speak about the topic from a historical, philosophical, and scientific background, I promised to showcase some of my art work in so far as it relates to the theme. The blog site comprises of three examples which portray some of my thoughts on it. The participants are invited to offer their views to continue and enrich the dialogue.

The Social Web Burn Out Blog
The social web burn out blog is a documentary installation and a parody of a blog. Its subject is the social web and networked experience.

Clockwork Protest Films
his is a series of films in which a small clockwork protest is made in a variety of locations around the world. A kit containing a clockwork protester and placards is despatched to various locations and then passed from person to person. No limits are set on how or where the protesters are used or what they are protesting against. The resulting films are sent back to me for editing and screening, on their own blog. People making the films include artists and non-artists mainly (but not exclusively) from the video blogging community. There are currently ten kits in the field but I am not sure exactly where they are.

Peculiaris.net is a collaborative moblog that questions identity and self-representation. It is based on concepts of an identity that is mutant, fluid, liquid, and open… And this mutant identity is here characterized by self-portrait. The project intention is to collect a huge number of these ephemeras photos taken by mobile camera.

Scenes of Provincial Life
A couple of years ago, I started making tiny QuickTime movies, as a kind of moving image dream diary. They quickly became a major focus of my work & I have made at least two or three every month since. I guess I was a vlogger avant la lettre so it seems appropriate to present them now as a vlog…I suppose, to be explicit, I should add, that I consider & have always done, even before blogging it, the movie *sequence* to be the artwork - rather like a thematically linked collection of poems where one can read an individual poem with pleasure & profit but the greater insight is to found in the collection as a whole.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

rubber stamps

This is the same list - of online companies that make customized rubber stamps - that I sent you all via e-mail:

Rubber Stamp Champ
The Stampmaker
123 Print
Rubber Stamps
Addicted to Rubber Stamps (sells "art stamps," not sure if they customize)
Simon Stamps
Rubber Stamps of America (seems more image based)

Friday, February 15, 2008

some items and events of interest to AFE

Junk Jet: a DIY 'zine in the age of electronic reproduction (not that copiers aren't electronic, but that's another blog post). Check out their website for more info.

Since so many of your projects aim to be interactive or participatory in some way (and acknowledging that that can be a tricky goal to achieve), I thought this event might be perfect timing, right after our first critique but before we dive in to the final portion of the semester. The Failure Support Group will take place on Friday evening, February 29th, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Democracy Center in Cambridge.

From their e-mail announcement:

Art projects fail a lot, particularly those that are participatory, public and/or social. They fail for different reasons and cause myriad revelations. Nevertheless, the structures that we use to talk about these works and contexts where they are presented often don't leave room for discussing the failures plainly and objectively.

We're interested in failure – in its relationship to creative production, artistic rhetoric and public presentation. So interested, in fact, that we want to share ours and hear about yours.

We invite you to join us for a Failure Support Group, an evening survey of failed processes and failed projects (yours and ours). Is there, actually, a recipe for failure? Are certain methodologies more prone to failure than others? How? What is at stake in acknowledging failure – in one's process, one's community, or one's career?

Bad coffee, 'nilla wafers, and accordion accompaniment provided.

I was tempted to RSVP with a presentation about one of my own, mostly unsuccessful projects but I think I'll just attend and share instead. Hope to see some of you there!

Monday, February 11, 2008

postcard specs for USPS

Physical Standards for Cards Claimed at Card Rates
1.2.1 Dimensional Standards for Cards
Each card (each stamped card or postcard or each half of a double stamped card or postcard) claimed at a card rate must be:

Not less than 3-1/2 inches high, 5 inches long, and 0.007 inch thick.
Not more than 4-1/4 inches high, or more than 6 inches long, or greater than 0.016 inch thick.
Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. Card-size pieces meeting the standards in 1.2.1 may have finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 0.125 inch (1/8 inch). See Exhibit 1.1.1c.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Project Library

Project Library is an informal survey about the Library at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. A participant downloads a .pdf consisting of 10 questions. Answers can be posted using the blog.
Participate by going to http://project-library-smfa.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Where are you not?

The brainchild of Becky Grigsby, this blog project is open to all submissions. The "Where are you not?" blog was spawned when dealing with the literal and figurative reaction to the question "where are you not?" while traveling throughout New England. Launched as a part of a larger project at the School of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston (link here), the site provided an interactive facet complementing the issues of physical and mental "location" addressed by the rest of the show. Participants are welcomed to send their own responses to the non-literal question "where are you not?" on the website. Click the header. Check it out.


FWD:DVD is a project developed by a Museum School student which follows the trace of a DVD. The DVD is a visual, animated and audible version of a chain e-mail. The short video ends with the common "Do not break this chain" saying along with directions to visit this blog.


I found this project appealing because it touches on a couple of my favorite things: sketchbooks, and collaborations.
I appreciate the methodical way the sketchbook was supposed to arrive and depart on specific days of the week. With that as a constant, I imagine the project went very smooth. The found assemblage of papers and collage that makes up the book lends itself to the aesthetic I'd attribute to the well-traveled but haggard hobo. Though in this case the hobo is a stowaway on a priority mail aircraft, rather than a freight train. Also, I am reminded of another international collaboration, that took an more tech-savvy approach, called The Doodle Down: A Transatlantic Scrawl. The most subversive aspect of this whole project is the way this tattered and beaten sketchbook transforms into this holy relic when exhibited. I have been trying to figure out what to do with my stack of sketchbooks, and the model used here may be a clue. Each spread from the book was reproduced and mounted to an aluminum stand with headphones that explained the thought process in it's creation and development.

good project. *****

-brian butler

Miniature Book Library

The Miniature Book Library was started by Etta Cetera, which is an ongoing mail art project, and exchange of miniature books (no larger than one's palm). You send out 5, she sends 4 from others, and one goes into the Library. I love the idea of small books, and exchanging them through the mail, and Cetera's documentation of the library via the web. Although I would have loved an "about" section on how she decided to make the library, and a few antecedents about some of the books. Either way, the virtual tour was an interesting pictorial insight on it's own. I am currently in the process of making a few books to send :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Lost Object Project

On Monday I presented to the class about The Lost Object Project.  The project invites anyone who is interested to submit a memorial to an object he or she has lost.  Memorials can be submitted electronically or via snail mail.  The project is framed by the story of a jetisioned briefcase for which the project's found now longs.  

As I read through the posts, I found that the posts that included a drawing or a scan of a handwritten description were more compelling to me than those that were just computer generated text.  Also, I noticed that the posts were divided into lost objects that are missed simply because of attributes of the object itself (for instance an article of clothing that fits particularly well) and objects that are valuable because of external associations (like the useless briefcase that is missed because it was a gift from the founder's late grandfather). 

I chose to submit my story on a handwritten post card with a small drawing of my lost neckless (pictured above). Participating in the project, I was aware that although I have a feeling I have lost a fair number of objects in my 24 years I could not think of very many of them.  Also, I have to question the validity of my contribution because I have since replaced that lost neckless

spring links for web-based mail art-inspired projects

By the end of the weekend, each of you should share with the blog a brief blurb about the project you presented in class last Monday. Include a link to the project's website!

Here are some additional links to a few projects that aren't necessarily interactive but instead use their websites to facilitate their project's network and/or document the work itself:

BOOK: Collaborative exhibition of a sketchbook shared by four artists from both sides of the Atlantic. I like the simplicity of the site, which really just documents the project, but the project definitely depended upon the international postal system to create a small network and communication system between the four artists. It's a great example to think about the transition from art practice (the sketchbook) to the mailbox and back to the white box (check out the exhibition page).

Croatian mail art project - a PDF presentation of a poster/mail art project

Do It With Others (DIWO): E-Mail-Art at NetBehaviour

Jesse Aaron Cohen's email exhibits; this is the index but you can also request to be added to his distribution list if you want to receive the exhibits by email.

Mail Interviews by Rudd Janssen, in blog format.

Veronica Millon's cross-stiched envelopes: These make me so happy...I'm not even completely sure why. I applaud her for taking advantage of a pre-existing format like PictureTrail but I think the project deserves a site re-design! This is a great example of creating envelopes or postcards from unusual materials.

For more resources about Mail Art more generally, check out this post from last semester.