Literary, Visual art

Fluxus Poetry Art

"Zalop Concerto in No Particular Key" by IUOMA members Cheryl Penn (South Africa) inspired by a performance score and Fluxus word by Ruud Janssen (Netherlands) and ZALOP video by Eduardo Cardoso (Portugal).
“Zalop Concerto in No Particular Key” by IUOMA members Cheryl Penn (South Africa) inspired by a performance score and Fluxus word by Ruud Janssen (Netherlands) and ZALOP video by Eduardo Cardoso (Portugal).

Cheryl Penn’s venture into musical composition is so noteworthy I had to blog it. Most of the IUOMA members are aware of Cheryl’s group for the study and advancement of Ruud Janssen’s Fluxus word “ZALOP,” given legs by the enthusiasm of visual poet Eduardo Cardoso of Portugal.International Union of Mail Artists

Well-known Fluxus artists include George Maciunas, Joseph Beuys, Emmett Williams, Yoko Ono and Nam June Paik. It was Maciunas who got the movement started. Many of these artists were creating Fluxus-style work before they got together and Maciunas created the movement.

When it comes to poetry, Fluxus concentrates on visual poetry; where the language is not necessarily representative and the visual appearance is more important, and concrete poetry; again, visuals are more important than content, but where visual poetry is often visually artistic/aesthetic, concrete poetry tends to focus more on shape, placement and typography.

Fluxus was inspired heavily by Marcel Duchamp and artist and composer John Cage, particularly drawing upon their chance methods and the intention to create something with no purpose or pre-determined idea.

In September 1962, that was Wiesbaden and that was the beginning of Fluxus as performance festival. It was simply performance… What distinguished me was that I belonged to the European faction, because my friends were Europeans, and soon after Dusseldorf, George Maciunas went back to the United States and started the Fluxus thing in the United States… I remained in Europe, and Fluxus became something very important in Europe, much more so than in America, thanks to Beuys, Vostell, Ren≠ Block and other people who believed in Fluxus in a much more serious way than in the United States. These were very accomplished artists, and they were involved in Fluxus and people took note. They explained what Fluxus was, different from what I thought or what Dick thought, and it remains a very very European phenomenon. George was Lithuanian-born himself and had spent the first part of his life in Europe, shaped by these things… He was the “immigrant boy”… No one called himself or herself a Fluxus artist in New York who could match a Vostell or a Beuys or a Kopke or others who remained in Europe and had an entirely different approach. People who made Fluxus created a glorious scene in Europe–Eric Anderson, Kopke, and we did not come out of nowhere, because we had been doing things… My Opera was first done in the 1950s, and so much of my work was done before Fluxus. I knew Vostell, Spoerri, Beuys, Filliou, Ben Patterson and Nam June before there was a Fluxus… I was very close to Spoerri and Filliou. The first performance of Opera in 1959 was with Spoerri and Klaus Bremen and myself in the Keller Club in the Castle in Darmstadt. Daniel was very active in theater at the time, he comes from ballet–the poetry that has come to be identified with me as Fluxus was all there before. It was my work that many people regard as Fluxus work that La Monte saw and that caused Maciunas to phone me and say that I’m coming over to talk about Fluxus. So many of the Americans allegedly came out of John Cage’s class. – Emmett Williams

I recently posted my own Fluxus poem on Examining the Odd. My method involves using chance methods to select words from an article and display them in a poetic form. The chance method is used to decide the article, each word, how many words and how they’re placed.

Decide how many words long you want your poem to be. Draw that number of words from the linen bag, making sure to arrange the words in the order that you drew them from the bag. You may alter your poem in three ways. You may remove up to three words from your poem. You may rearrange the order of two words. You may add any word of your choosing to your poem. Draw one more word from the bag to title your poem. Copy down the poem into this booklet, and add any extra art if you like. Please return the words to the bag. – An alternative method from Fluxuslab

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