What is Fluxus? What is not?

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.

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Allan says:

When I first posted this article, I had not yet come across much in the way of early Fluxus audio art. Subsequently, Professor Ken Friedman, a Fluxus artist and scholar in his own right, provided the following comment,

“I [draw] your attention to two Fluxus composers primarily noted for pure sound, Richard Maxfield and La Monte Young, and the long history of sound art and sound-based musical composition by a dozen more, many covered in standard musical texts or historical surveys such as Larry Austin and Douglas Kahn’s book on Source magazine from University of California Press.”

Also, in the months following my initial blog post, I have come across Fluxus audio works available for sale in the art market.

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