iuoma.org – Interested in Mail-Art?

welcome to the International Union of Mail-Artists. This Blog gives you information and links to all activities undertaken by Ruud Janssen, who started with Mail-Art in 1980 and is still active.

Family Roots – Van Herpt in Tilburg

This photo was always hanging on the wall at my mothers place.  She herself is on the photo together with most of her brothers and sisters and also her parents, so my grandparents.  My mothers name: Riet van Herpt, my fathers name: Herman Janssen. So I got my father’s name as it is usual.  The van Herpt family side on this photo (my mother) is now almost gone. Last week I went to the funeral of my uncle, Sjef van Herpt, and with his death at age of 89 (on May 1st he would become 90), only one uncle (and brother of my mother) is now still alive.

This is the proud photo of the van Herpt family. My grandfather was a builder, and het built his own house for the family. He grounded the firm in 1928, and it was active till 1968. The Tongerlose Hoefstraat has a lot of memories connected to my grandfather. Have no memories of him though since he died too jung. But he left a lot of traces which i treasure.

Here below another photo that hung on the wall at my mothers place: the brothers and sisters (one is not on the photo) in Tilburg.

Traditional Mail Art Catalogs – They still exist!

In 2017 I got these catalogs of Mail-Art project in the mail. Above a project done by the Stickerdude (Joel Cohen) in NY – USA, and below two catalogs that Uli Grohmann (Germany) did. Although a lot goes digital thee days, the hardcopies are still my favorites. You can go through the pages, and digitize them, but the booklet will survive the times for sure whuile the digital images go into the websiotes and social media and somehow are difficult to find after some time…..

The new IUOMA blog

This new IUOMA blog is now one year old.  It isn’t like the other blogs that I keep. This one is hosted on the IUOMA.ORG domain itself and it the linking-pin to all the other informations. When you see the menu, you can access lots of other websites too, and also I have published all mail-interviews on this blog as well. That way this is the fastest growing Blog I keep now and actually the basis for the TAM-Archive and other collections.

When you are looking for specific things, there is a SEARCH button in the menu, where you can look for the specific articles. Als because this blog is a main DNS name, it is indexed quite well, and through Google and other search engines you can find the details easily. I watch the statistics through Google Analytics, and the new part of the website is found quite well now.

Ruud Janssen, June  1st 2016.

Go to Main Menu: http://iuoma.org/blog_new_2015/

2016-05-01 17.16.53

Incoming from Mr. Colori – Netherlands

2016-05-05 09.33.29

A large enveloppe arrived yesterday from Mr. Colori (Chaam, Netherlands).  In is was a splendit catalog from the exhibition and project he did called : Van Bosch naar Bruegel, Bruegel after Bosch.

2016-05-05 09.33.40

A full colour catalog with reprints of all the works sent in, and also a complete participant list. One of thos catalogs that remembers you from the past when these things were produced. Nowadays most mail-artists can’t find sponsors for such a very fine production. So I am very glad to have received this masterpiece. Will fit wonderful in the archive. And please don’t forget that the exhibition can still be visited in Den Bosch, Netherlands.   Have a look at the website for details:

info https://www.facebook.com/mii.colori

foto galerij op de projectwebsite  http://bruegelproject.blogspot.nl

2016-05-05 09.33.44

2016-05-05 09.33.47

2016-05-05 09.34.01

2016-05-05 09.34.09

2016-05-05 09.34.15

The Undying Art of Mail

source: http://www.brokenpencil.com/features/the-undying-art-of-mail

We used to send mail, and there used to be an underground movement of artists who made mail art. Laura Trethewey tracks down the artists who made the postal system an integral part of their work to find out how mail art is faring in the age of the Internet.

By Laura Trethewey ,

Monday, July 11th, 2011

In the mid ’90s, Rubberstampmadness –a periodical that at the time covered mail art and rubberstamping– was a 136-page glossy, colour magazine with classified ads, letters to the editor, a subscription base of 12,000 and retail sales of 8,000 copies. In 1992, publisher Michael Malan wrote, somewhat wishfully that “in the ’60s, it was drugs. In the ’70s, it was sex. In the ’80s, it was money, who knows, in the ’90s, it may be rubber.” But then came the Internet. Throughout the ’90s Rubberstampmadness’s focus shifted as less and less mail art filtered in and stamping, as a hobby unto itself, took off. Today, the mag runs the occasional issue on mail art, but with a limited print run of 7,000 copies. As the decade wound down, the WorldWide Web began to undermine the power of print and paper. A long running indie art tradition was faced with, if not extinction, then at the very least the daunting task of reinvention.

This once private process of making, sending and receiving mail art is now very much public and online. A quick Google search for “Mail Art” turns up hundreds of scanned images from Germany, Russia, India, almost anywhere in the world. This open and immediate exchange of ideas and artwork is very different from its scattered, hidden-in-plain-sight beginnings in the ’50s. Mail art emerged out of the influence and work of three geographically disparate art movements: the New York Correspondence School, the Nouveau Realistes in Europe and the Fluxus movement in Japan. It was a simple way to connect people all over a rapidly globalizing world, and a way to repurpose that ultimate symbol of technocratic triumphalism, the post office. Turn a postcard into a collage, mail a decorated envelope stuffed with all types of bricolage, and the act itself becomes art, prodding confused machines, awed postal workers and unsuspecting recipients into a different space, if only for a moment or two. As Mark Evard, the National Director of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers with over 20 years experience delivering mail, explains it: “I’ve seen decorated bottles, a coconut, a shell, empty Kraft Dinner boxes that have been decorated. Technically, we’re not supposed to be reading the mail, but normally when stuff like that comes through, people show it around to the other letter carriers in the aisle where they work.”

Some send around notebooks to be filled page-by-page with artwork or writing. Another popular objet d’art is a set of homemade stamps, more often called artistamps, a term coined by London, Ontario artist Michel Bidner in the ’80s. If there was such a thing as stated rules in mail art, they would include a few loose guidelines: Anyone can be a mail artist, all senders shall receive a response to a piece of sent art and pretty much anything can be considered mail art. In a time of cold war repression and obsessive commercialism, mail art challenged barriers and crossed borders. And it was just plain fun. As New York-based artist Sylvia Kleindinst puts it, during her adventures in mail art in the mid-’80s to mid-’90s: “I was writing to 40 or 50 people. My mailbox was always filled with these wonderful cards,”

But then came the Internet. “I think actually getting on the computer sort of killed mail art for me,” Kleindinst says. “I went into corresponding through Yahoo groups.” And other obstacles to the traditional practice of mail art arose around the dawn of the new millennium. “In the early ’70s, postage was six cents to anywhere in the world,” points out BC-based mail artist Ed Varney. “I could mail to 300 people for $18. Now, the same mailing would cost about $325 (assuming 100 Canadian, 100 USA and 100 international addresses — and weighing not over 30 grams). That’s a difference that can’t be ignored.”

With costs rising and new technologies threatening to usurp the viability of the practice, it’s hardly surprising that mail artists started to take their cues from the web. Dutch mail artist Ruud Janssen began experimenting with early Internet technology, such as the Bulletin Board System (BBS) in the mid-’80s. By 1990, he was ready to take his mail art community newsletter, the TAM-bulletin, online via BBS. (“Send anything that has to do with BRAINS,” reads a call-out in the inaugural electronic issue in November, 1990.)

Today, Janssen is one of the most prominent advocates of the online mail art community. He runs The International Union of Mail-Artists (IUOMA) with over a thousand members from all over world. The IUOMA operates as a sort of hyper-creative Facebook. There are updates of who’s friends with whom and photo albums of recent vacations, which are needless-to-say wholly unrelated to the practice of mail art. Yet the site is also a testament to how rich and sophisticated the online world of mail art has become. Many creative undertakings are coordinated through the IUOMA, such as a mail-art novel with over 30 artists contributing a different chapter. Its first seven chapters are already completed and online. The writing itself is entirely informed by the breakneck pace of the Internet with nods to month-old events, like Malcolm McLaren’s death, the iPad and the Icelandic volcano that shut down European airspace. Fittingly, the plot includes a mysterious mail art storyline, with a near nerdish similarity to fan fiction. There are also serious discussions conducted through IUOMA, some that even question the very foundation of mail art itself. One, posted by Janssen asks, “Do we need still [sic] snail-mail when we have forums like these?”

Many argue that we do. In fact, BC-based Ed Varney, one of Canada’s most well-known and active mail artists who has dutifully sent and received for close to 40 years, argues that relying on the Net may threaten the democratic underpinnings of mail art. “More and more the documentation is appearing on the Web, which sort of ignores the fact that many artists, particularly from third world countries, don’t have access to the Web,” he writes in an email. Clearly, those not on the web are shut out from adding to the mail-art novel, among countless other projects that have and will originate and be dispersed online. The Dutch artist Janssen tracks visitors to the bright orange IUOMA website, keeping an eye out for travelers from places like Africa or China. He says he does see the odd visitor, but so far he’s not received much from these countries. In May, Janssen began a blog called Chinese Mail-Art to actively pursue Chinese artists who might want to be found. So far, he’s had no success. “You first need an address,” he writes and mentions that at this point he’s planning to walk into Chinese restaurants and simply ask people whether anyone has contacts he can write to.

Perhaps the reason Janssen is so persistent in tracking down artists cut out of the loop by the Internet is because bringing unlikely people together is one of the notable accomplishments of this underground art movement. Romanian artist Iosif Kiraly writes in Eternal Network: A Mail Art Anthology: “In the ’80s, Mail Art was, for me, and many artists from communist countries, the only possibility to have a contact outside of our borders.” He makes this point concrete in his 1982 performance of a massive envelope holding several people, explaining that often in oppressed countries the only true part of you to escape is through the mail. American mail artist Kleindinst still corresponds with a Russian mail artist, who contacted her shortly after the Berlin Wall came down. They’ve been exchanging work for close to 20 years now, although she admits she was at first hesitant about corresponding with a Russian after so many years of Cold War propaganda.

Despite the drawbacks, for Janssen the Internet is less a threat to traditional mail art than an additional way to carry on the tradition. In what is already an art form based around communication, another way in which to connect can only strengthen the movement. “An artist shouldn’t be trapped in one medium,” he writes via email. “Communication in art is an essential factor. That is one of the essential points in mail art.”

Laura Trethewey gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council’s Writers’ Reserve Program.

– See more at: http://www.brokenpencil.com/features/the-undying-art-of-mail#sthash.fK44uIRo.dpuf

Brain Cells 942 and 943 from Ryosuke Cohen – Japan

2016-04-19 07.14.22

Again two more brain cells from Ryosuke Cohen in Japan arrived in Breda, Netherlands. Number 942 (above) and 943 (below). The project continues since 1985 and 31 years later the 1000 th issue is coming in sight. With an issue each 10 days this still takes a long time…..  But we enjoy every new issue that brightens the world with all these icons from a mail-art network.

2016-04-21 19.06.52