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Fluxus and Judaism

OK... Let me begin by stating that I don't think that Fluxus has anything whatsoever to do directly with Judaism.

But... As someone who was born Jewish, became Israeli, and believes in no religion at all; and yet still identifies himself as "Jewish", I can see some interesting parallels between Fluxus and Judaism.

While for most people living in Western-style liberal democracies Judaism is defined simply as just a religion, for most Jews (and for most anti-Semites) Judaism is a religion AND a race AND a nationality. It is fairly easy to argue that Judaism is not a nationality in the most commonly used western sense, and it is also fairly straightforward to argue that Judaism is not a race in the most commonly used western sense. Yet, it is difficult to argue that Judaism is not some sort of unique hybrid of all of these things together. It may not be any one of these things individually, but it most definitely IS all of these things together. I could go on... but that is not the primary purpose of this blog post.

So let's get back to Fluxus. For most people with some familiarity with art history, Fluxus has been pigeon-holed as just another "art movement". But Fluxus is not really an art movement in the conventional sense of that term. For people that practiced (and continue to practice) Fluxus, Fluxus is also an attitude towards creating art and towards living life. Fluxus is a philosophy of art making and for living creatively in the world.

And here is where it gets interesting... It is not hard to argue that Fluxus is not a "philosophy". It is easy to make arguments to support the idea that Fluxus IS an art-historical movement. It is fairly straightforward to dismiss the idea of Fluxus as an attitude. But to make these arguments and dismissals, one has to ignore the feelings/positions/attitudes of the people who are most involved in Fluxus - AND to dismiss the preponderance of evidence that supports the idea that Fluxus is much more than just another art history movement. That's because Fluxus is best viewed as a hybrid that includes important elements of an art history movement, a philosophy, and an attitude. It may not be any one of these things individually, but it most definitely IS all of these things together.

So you see, Fluxus really is like Judaism - even if it does have nothing to do with Judaism!

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About Allan Revich

Allan Revich is a Toronto artist and writer. His work has appeared in numerous publications, in international exhibitions, and on many websites. He is active in the international Fluxus community. He currently writes poetry, creates visual poems, and works with photography. His work includes Web-based art, mixed media art, and mail art. His books, Headline Haiku 2006, Headline Haiku 2007, and Fluxus Vision are available internationally on Amazon.com and its affiliates, as his most recent collection of poems, "Flux You!".

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