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FLUXFEST CHICAGO 2012

February 9th – 12th, 2012

Feb 9th 5:00pm – 7:30pm
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Mailart and Fluxus from the archives of Fluxus/St. Louis.
Opening reception
Chicago Art Institute, Joan Flasch Artists Book Collection. 37 S. Wabash, 5th Floor.

Feb 10th 2:00pm – 5pm
FLUX IT YOURSELF
Scores and Performances by Contemporary Fluxus.
Publication Exposition and live performances Coordinated by Fluxpress.
Columbia College Center For Book and Paper Arts ,1104 S. Wabash Av.

Feb 10th 6:00pm
Flux Dinner
The Artist’s Cafe, 412 S. Michigan Av.

Feb 11th 11:00am-5:00pm
Fluxus Day at the Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., 2nd Floor.

Feb 11th 11:00am – 5:00pm
Mailart Creation Station
An ongoing space with supplies for making and sending Mailart, informing and interacting with the public.
Coordinated by Stampland, Neosho, and Adamandia Kapsalis.

Feb 11th 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Fluxhibition 5.4
small flux-works will travel from the Fluxmuseum Collection to be shown and shared for the day.
Coordinated by Cecil Touchon and the Fluxmuseum.

Feb 11th 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Flux Free For All
over 2000 small fluxworks from postcards to stamps and small objects to be given away … take what you wish.

Feb 11th 1:00pm –1:45pm
Women In Bowlers
a celebration of the women of Fluxus – from its beginnings till now, Coordinated by Picasso Gaglione with Dada Machine Fluxus.

Feb 11th 2:00pm – 2:45pm
Long Form Flux
Longer performance pieces happening throughout the hallways stairwells and niches of the Cultural Center .

Feb 11th 3:00pm – 3:45pm
Be Blank Consort
Avant poetry performance Coordinated by John M. Bennett.

Feb 11th 4:00pm – 5:00pm
One Ring Circus
Contemporary Fluxus scores performed under the G.A.R. dome.

ongoing (8:00am – 6:00pm)
Write Now – Artists And Letterforms
A major exhibition that showcases a diverse range of recent works by artists utilizing letters and text in a wide array of mediums.

ongoing (8:00am – 6:00pm)
The Fluxus, Mailart, and Visual Poetry Project
coordinated by Keith A. Buchholz, is located on and around a 30 ft. long wall as part of this exhibition, and will be open during the day.
Exhibition curated by Nathan Mason.

Feb 11th 6:30 pm
The New York Correspondence School of Chicago Dinner
The Berghoff 17 W. Adams
An extension of Ray Johnson’s historic New York Correspondence School Meetings,
The Berghoff once again welcomes us for a special meal … Bring Mail art Multiples to share and swap. Hosted by The New York Correspondence School of Chicago.

Feb 12th 12:00pm – 4:00pm
FLUX FILM FEST
6018 NORTH, 6018 N. Kenmore, in the Edgewater Neighborhood.
A matinee festival of New Fluxus Film
with a special screening of RE: MACIUNAS a new film by Jonas Mekas – Made for the Lithuanian Biennial. Also, an opportunity to explore 6018 NORTH – a new grassroots non-profit arts center for Performance, Sound, and Alternative Art.
Coordinated by Tricia Van Eck, 6018 North, Andrew Oleksiuk, and Fluxus STL Archive.

This FLUXFEST is Organized by Keith A. Buchholz, and The Contemporary Fluxus Community.
For Further info contact Keith at:
Keith9963@sbcglobal.net
or phone 314-276-4802

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February 9th - 12th, 2012
International Fluxus is gearing up for 4 days of performance and activity in Chicago this February, and are hoping that everyone who can, will join in the festival. If you can't make it in person, we'd still love to have you included. Please send a score that could be performed, or a simple multiple in an edition of 50 or more that we can give away. More details below ...

FLUXFEST CHICAGO 2012 February 9th - 12th, 2012

Feb 9th - Opening of FROM THE ARCHIVE - Mailart and Fluxus from the archives of Fluxus/St. Louis.
@ Chicago Art Institute, Joan Flasch Library.
An afternoon opening reception for an exhibit of works that have accumulated at the archive ( if you've never sent Mailart or anything to the archive ..send it now and Keith will make sure it's included in the show )

Feb. 10th . FLUX IT YOURSELF : Scores and Performances by Contemporary Fluxus

Tentative Location : Center For Book Arts, Chicago ( kind of a DIY free for all, where we can do whatever scores we like, plus a one day long exposition of publications ) either send publications to Keith Buchholz ahead of time, or bring them along.

Feb 10th 6:00pm "Flux Dinner" @ The Artist's Cafe, Chicago
An informal get together at a Chicago landmark .... also an opportunity to sign posters and catch up with each other.

Feb 11th 11-5pm Fluxus Day at the Chicago Cultural Center
an amazing performance space, and an event sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

PLUS several events to participate in ...

  1. Mailart Creation Station - an ongoing space with supplies for making and sending Mailart, informing and interacting with the public.
  2. Women In Bowlers - a celebration of the women of Fluxus - from its beginnings till now, coordinated by Picasso Gaglione with Dada Machine Fluxus, and everyone who wants to perform.
  3. One Ring Circus - Contemporary Fluxus scores performed by taking turns ... I'll be there with a sign up sheet, and announce ( like we did last year at the MCA and at ABC No Rio ) ....
  4. Long Form Flux - Plenty of room for longer durational pieces to be ongoing .. Let me know what you want to do & we'll work it in ... we have lots of space to work with,
    also hallways and stairwells ... Bring your Ideas
  5. Fluxhibition 5.4 - Cecil Touchon will once again transport valises filled with small flux-works from the Fluxmuseum Collection to show and share for the day.
  6. Free For All - Please either bring or send ahead a multiple, publication or postcard in an edition of 50 or more that can be given away to the public. Last year was amazing .. over 50 different pieces came in, and all were distributed ... that's 2500 works that went out in a day ....how cool is that! I'll be collecting 8 full sets to box and donate to archives. ( Last years boxes ended up in MOMA, Ohio State, The Sackner Collection, Chicago Art Institute, MCA Chicago, and more.... )

Feb. 11th ongoing ( 8am - 6pm ) Write Now - Artists And Letterforms

A major exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center that showcases a diverse range of recent works by artists utilizing letters and text in a wide array of mediums. * The " Fluxus, Mailart, and Visual Poetry Project " that many of us are in, is located on and around a 30 ft. long wall as part of this exhibition, and will be open during the day.

Feb 11th 6:30 pm - The New York Correspondence School of Chicago Dinner

The Berghoff, host restaurant of last year's Correspondence Dinner, once again
welcomes us for a special meal ... Bring Mail art and Multiples to share and swap.

Feb 12th " Flux Film Fest " @ 6018 NORTH.

A matinee festival of New Fluxus Film ( send me your film work now on DVD, so we can get the schedule set up. ) with a special screening of RE: MACIUNAS a new film by Jonas Mekas - Made for us for the Lithuanian Biennial. Also, an opportunity to explore 6018 NORTH - a new grassroots non-profit arts center for Performance, Sound, and Alternative Art .. this amazing space is in process, and will become the new Public Home of the Mailart / Fluxus archive that I've been accumulating ... (by next year our Archive Space will be completed, with a viewing room for Mailart / Fluxus works and publications, and walls to do special exhibitions from the archive.

* If you're sending works ahead of time please

Clearly Mark them as for Fluxfest / Chicago.

* send to this address:

Fluxfest Chicago

c/o Keith A. Buchholz

3449 Hartford St.
St. Louis, Mo.

63118

U.S.A.

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There have never been really solid lines demarking where Fluxus starts and stops.

To my mind there are some things that are clearly Fluxus and others that are clearly not Fluxus, but there is a heck of a lot of grey in between. For example, I am not currently aware of any pure audio art (sound art without a background event score or visible performers) that was made or exhibited during the first Fluxus era. But I think that sound art is the ultimate expression of Intermedia, and Intermedia is/was fundamental to understanding Fluxus.

The writing of event scores, performance of event scores, fluxboxes, fluxkits, and the type of work typically included in a fluxbox (visual poetry, experimental poetry, drawings and texts, small found objects and multiples) probably constituted the majority of work that could easily be classified as Fluxus. But even in the first Fluxus era, the scope of Intermedia and work presented as Fluxus by its practitioners extended beyond those forms.

In the era of the Internet the world of Intermedia has become the new normal. It seems only natural that the combination of technical media intersections and online social networking should lead to a renaissance of new Fluxus that while not the same as the old Fluxus, is never-the-less a natural extension of it. I believe that the group of artists that I am associated with is a natural extension of Fluxus, and that we are indeed a legitimate new Fluxus community.

In the spirit of Fluxus, Performa will produce an intensive 52-hour program (Friday, November 11, 5:00 pm) across New York City, collaborating with members of the Performa Consortium. A five-part program will be presented in several key Fluxus forms, honoring the history and prompting the making of new Fluxus actions, objects, music, film, and ideas for the twenty-first century. The projects, ranging in size from large events to small-scale gestures, will be concentrated in downtown Manhattan in tribute to Fluxus history, and to George Maciunas and the Fluxus pioneers who lived and worked there.

Organized by Mark Beasley, Esa Nickle, Lana Wilson, and Biennial Consortium members with Liutauras Psibilskis.

Information courtesy of Mary Campbell

I ask not for the great, the remote, the romantic ... I embrace the common, I explore and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low. Give me insight into today, and you may have the antique and future worlds.

The quote above is from Ralph Waldo Emerson, as found in Ken Friedman's essay, Fluxus: A Laboratory of Ideas, in the exhibition catalog for Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life, currently on view at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College.

While I am far from certain about how Ralph Waldo would react in the presence of Fluxus activity, he does seem to foreshadow and important element of the Fluxus philosophy. His is perhaps a more eloquent version of one of my own quick catchphrase explanations of Flluxus... "Fluxus makes the mundane magical". Of course, Emerson was speaking about Fluxus in 1837, more that a hundred years before Fluxus even formally existed!

The Fluxus dead or alive argument is simpler than many people on both sides make it out to be.

Fluxus was a group of artists in the 60s and 70s. The group largely disbanded after Maciunas died. Ergo Fluxus is dead.

BUT... That group of artists set an idea in motion. That idea (or attitude) is Fluxus. The Fluxus idea, attitude and way of being and artmaking is as relevant today as it was then. Ergo Fluxus lives.

I can see the attraction of the first statement for those whose primary objective is to profit from Fluxus, but  ss a living, breathing, Fluxus practioner, it seems pretty obvious to me thatthe second statement is more accurate.

Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life

April 16–August 7, 2011
Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2808
hood.museum@dartmouth.edu
hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu

One of the things—maybe the most important thing—that art is good for is thinking about life. Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life, a major traveling exhibition based on the Hood Museum of Art's George Maciunas Memorial Collection of Fluxus art, is designed for visitors to experience the radical and influential cultural development that was Fluxus, and maybe learn something about themselves along the way. Fluxus was an international network of artists, composers, and designers that emerged as an art (or "anti-art") phenomenon in the early 1960s and was noted for blurring the boundaries between art and life.
Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life takes Maciunas's approach toward art as part of a social process as it's touchstone. The exhibition is about how Fluxus works, and it encourages visitor interpretation and response through its design and layout. Over one hundred works by Maciunas and other Fluxus artists, including, among many others, George Brecht, Ben Vautier, Yoko Ono, Robert Filliou, Nam June Paik, La Monte Young, Mieko Shiomi, and Ken Friedman, playfully supply answers to fourteen themes, framed as questions, such as "What Am I?," "Happiness?," "Health?," "Freedom?," and "Danger?" A free newspaper containing a map of the exhibition will allow visitors to go directly to those questions of most pressing interest to themselves.

There have never been really solid lines demarking where Fluxus starts and stops.

To my mind there are some things that are clearly Fluxus and others that are clearly not Fluxus, but there is a heck of a lot of grey in between. For example, I am not currently aware of any pure audio art (sound art without a background event score or visible performers) that was made or exhibited during the first Fluxus era. But I think that sound art is the ultimate expression of Intermedia, and Intermedia is/was fundamental to understanding Fluxus.

The writing of event scores, performance of event scores, fluxboxes, fluxkits, and the type of work typically included in a fluxbox (visual poetry, experimental poetry, drawings and texts, small found objects and multiples) probably constituted the majority of work that could easily be classified as Fluxus. But even in the first Fluxus era, the scope of Intermedia and work presented as Fluxus by its practitioners extended beyond those forms.

In the era of the Internet the world of Intermedia has become the new normal. It seems only natural that the combination of technical media intersections and online social networking should lead to a renaissance of new Fluxus that while not the same as the old Fluxus, is never-the-less a natural extension of it. I believe that the group of artists that I am associated with is a natural extension of Fluxus, and that we are indeed a legitimate new Fluxus community.

Fluxus has a new manifesto, (FLUXUS MANIFESTO FOR THE 21st CENTURY). What does this change?

  1. The New Manifesto Changes nothing:
    George Maciuanas, Dick Higgins, and Ken Friedman did a very good job of defining Fluxus and describing what it is. Fluxus does not need anybody to do redo the excellent work already done in this regard. The Four Principles that I enumerated much later are NOT a new definition. I wrote them as a response to a need that I identified for a a quick and simple description of what Fluxus is, for those (frequent) occasions when people without previous experience or exposure to Fluxus request an explanation. I think that I succeeded, and that the four principles provide a reasonable explanation that should satisfy any casual inquiry, while still remaining true to the intentions of the more sophisticated explanations. If there is ever a conflict between one of the Four Principles and a historically or technically more accurate example, the historical truth must prevail.
  2. The New Manifesto Changes Everything:
    Contemporary Fluxus artists have thrown off the last yokes of dependency on the old generation of Fluxus insiders. The contemporary artists know that they are Fluxus artists and do not need to ask for permission or even opinions as to their status as Fluxus artists.Artists were doing Fluxus before Fluxus was even named. In the 1960s and 1970s a group of artists centered themselves around George Maciuanas and called themselves and their work Fluxus. After Maciuanas's death some of these artists continued making Fluxus works and others dispersed or followed new ideas. Over the years new artists began working with Fluxus ideas and creating new Fluxus works. Some of the original Fluxus group thought this was exciting and interesting. Some of the original Fluxus group, along with parts of the commercial art market that dealt with Fluxus as commodities whose value was dependent on perceived scarcity, found this development threatening. The newer artists were confused by this schism as they attempted to assert their own identities as Fluxus artists while seeking the guidance and respect of the remaining original Fluxus artists.

    It became clear to the new Fluxus artists that certain parts of the old and established Fluxus community were never going to accept them as anything other than a group of child-like appendages whose role must be limited to the promotion and celebration only of the work done by themselves. This state of affairs was not acceptable to a group of autonomous artists who saw (and see) themselves as a continuation of Fluxus, not as a subsidiary appendage.

The Fluxus Manifesto for the 21st Century asserts that contemporary Fluxus artists are proud of their Fluxus heritage, are continuing to celebrate the work and achievements of the Fluxus artists who came before them, but are no longer dependent upon them for support or for opinions on their legitimacy or perceived lack thereof.

Fluxus lives and we are Fluxus!

FLUXUS MANIFESTO FOR THE 21st CENTURY
Allan Revich, March 21, 2011

Once again a subset of The Fluxus Establishment (as if there could be such a thing as a Fluxus establishment!) have got their knickers in knots about the idea of new artists calling themselves Fluxus and/or calling their activities Fluxus. This has happened before. It might happen again. But I doubt it.

Today's Fluxus artists continue to respect the work and legacy of Fluxus 1.0, but we no longer feel that there is a requirement for acceptance by the remaining vestiges of that generation. It is no longer a matter of whether or not THEY accept US. The 21st Century Fluxboat has already left the dock. We would love to have the original group of Fluxus artists on board with us. In fact it would be an honor. But the boat is sailing, and it's not going to wait at the dock any longer. Those who don't jump on board will simply be left behind.

There are no more questions for the new Fluxus artists to answer. We ARE Fluxus. We welcome the support of those who preceded us, but we don't need their approval. The only remaining question for those of the original generation of Fluxus is, "Do you want to be on the boat, or do you want to be left behind on the dock?" We have room for you. We will welcome you with open arms. We will give you all of the respect and admiration that you deserve. But we will not wait for you.

This is what Fluxus is today. It is pretty much the same as what Fluxus was, but the old actors have been replaced by new ones. And behind our generation Fluxus artists there is already a new generation ready to displace us. We welcome them.

FLUXUS TODAY:

Fluxus today is built on the solid foundations of Fluxus yesterday. The artists may be new, but the work they are making is as much a part of Fluxus tradition as the work that came before. Here is what Ken Friedman wrote in 2002. A version of his essay was first published in 1989 by the Emily Harvey Gallery as "Fluxus and Company".

...Emmett Williams once wrote, "Fluxus is what Fluxus does - but no one knows whodunit." This concise description makes two radical statements. The statement that no one knows "who done" Fluxus rejects the idea of Fluxus as a specific group of people. It identifies Fluxus with a frame of action and defines Fluxus as a cumulative, aggregate of Fluxus activities over the past forty years or so. While Emmett is famous for playful conundrums, he may not agree with this reading of his text. Dick Higgins did.

Dick explicitly rejected a notion that limited Fluxus to a specific group of people who came together at a specific time and place. Dick wrote, "Fluxus is not a moment in history, or an art movement. Fluxus is a way of doing things, a tradition, and a way of life and death."

For Dick, for George Maciunas, and for me, Fluxus is more valuable as an idea and a potential for social change than as a specific group of people or a collection of objects.

We, the Fluxus artists of the 21st century have taken these words to heart. We are Fluxus and we are making Fluxus work. Friedman, building on previous work by Dick Higgins, described Fluxus as a "laboratory characterized by twelve ideas".

  1. globalism,
  2. the unity of art and life,
  3. intermedia,
  4. experimentalism,
  5. chance,
  6. playfulness,
  7. simplicity,
  8. implicativeness,
  9. exemplativism,
  10. specificity,
  11. presence in time, and
  12. musicality

We live and work under the umbrella of these twelve ideas.

FOUR FLUXUS PRINCIPLES

I have used ideas from Friedman, Owen Smith, Maciuanas, and Higgins, along with direct observation of Fluxus work past and present, to create an even more concise set of Four Fluxus Principles:

  1. Fluxus is an attitude. It is not a movement or a style.
  2. Fluxus is intermedia. Fluxus creators like to see what happens when different media intersect. They use found and everyday objects, sounds, images, and texts to create new combinations of objects, sounds, images, and texts.
  3. Fluxus works are simple. The art is small, the texts are short, and the performances are brief.
  4. Fluxus should be fun. Humor has always been an important element in Fluxus.

As with Friedman's 12 ideas, my four principles are flexible guidelines, not commandments carved in stone. They are meant to help people understand and work with Fluxus, not to confine them or restrain their creativity.

We, the Fluxus artists of the 21st century, know that we owe George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Ken Friedman, and all of the original Fluxus artists a debt of gratitude for building the ship that we are now sailing on. Anyone, anywhere, is welcome aboard. Just remember that the ship has already started to sail.

Allan Revich
March 21, 2011

Fluxfest New York 2011 is coming soon to New York City. April 11 through April 17, 2011. Some venues have been secured, some are being negotiated, and one appears to have backed out. It's hard for me to understand why a venue that has a strong history of supporting Fluxus would withdraw support from a Fluxfest, but from what I understand, this particular space was more comfortable hosting reproductions of old historical Fluxs works than in supporting the work of newer and emerging Fluxus artists. Why would this be?

As new artists see the possibilities of working within the Fluxus milieu there has been an incredible renaissance of Fluxus works and performances. New scores are being written. New artworks and texts are being created, and new artists are celebrating the accomplishments and legacies of the earlier generation of Fluxus artists. Many people who have been associated with Fluxus over the last 50 years have shown themselves to be very excited about the new Fluxus awakening. Artists and works that were on the verge of fading into oblivion are suddenly in the forefront of consciousness of the arts community. Apparently the new Fluxus phenomenon is not universally being welcomed by all though. Is Fluxus dead or is it alive? Was it a movement, and idea, or is it an attitude? Who were the Fluxus artists? Who can claim to be a Fluxus artist?

I think that there are two basic and long-standing definitions of what Fluxus is, and that is what complicates answering the question, "who is a Fluxus artist?"

1) The Silverman Collection Fluxus: Fluxus as defined by collectors, and historians with powerful vested interests in confining Fluxus to specific times and places. They prefer a tight and tidy definition, generally around the idea that Fluxus began with George Maciuanas, and it ended when he died. George died died, the circle dispersed. Fluxus ended.

2) The "Fluxus Attitude" as decribed by Owen Smith, and the Fluxus Idea as described by Dick Higgins and Ken Friedman:  Dick and Ken collaborated on the 12 Fluxus ideas. In fact, these are Ken's own words,

Dick explicitly rejected a notion that limited Fluxus to a specific group of people who came together at a specific time and place. Dick wrote, "Fluxus is not a moment in history, or an art movement. Fluxus is a way of doing things, a tradition, and a way of life and death."

For Dick, for George Maciunas, and for me, Fluxus is more valuable as an idea and a potential for social change than as a specific group of people or a collection of objects.

As I see it, Fluxus was a laboratory. The research program of the Fluxus laboratory is characterized by twelve ideas:globalism,

  1. the unity of art and life,
  2. intermedia,
  3. experimentalism,
  4. chance,
  5. playfulness,
  6. simplicity,
  7. implicativeness,
  8. exemplativism,
  9. specificity,
  10. presence in time, and
  11. musicality.

My own 4 point summary is derived from a combination of this idea and of Owen Smith's idea of Fluxus as an Attitude, along with examples of the actual work produced and held out to be Fluxus work by Fluxus artists, to wit:

  1. Fluxus is an attitude. It is not a movement or a style.
  2. Fluxus is intermedia. Fluxus creators like to see what happens when different media intersect. They use found and everyday objects, sounds, images, and texts to create new combinations of objects, sounds, images, and texts.
  3. Fluxus works are simple. The art is small, the texts are short, and the performances are brief.
  4. Fluxus should be fun. Humor has always been an important element in Fluxus.

I'll leave this post with a few more words from Forty Years of Fluxus:

"...The first Fluxus disappeared a long time ago. It replaced itself with the many forms of Fluxus that came after.

The many varieties of Fluxus activity took on their own life and had a significant history of their own. It's unrealistic and historically inaccurate to imagine a Fluxus controlled by one man. Fluxus was co-created by many people and it has undergone a continuous process of co-creation and renewal for three decades."

And, so it goes. Fluxus ended for one group of artists and continues forward in the capable and spirited hands new generations of Fluxus artists.

Hello, my name is Allan Revich, and I am a Fluxus Artist.