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The NEW Secrets about MAIL-ART - PART 2

(c)2003 by Ruud Janssen

see also the other New Secret Thoughts: 1 | 2 | 3

Second Part - Secrets?

09-11-2003 : Some of the readers maybe can't wait. Just being currious is a good quality, so I have decided to work on more than one files at the same time. The subjects will be different, so no problem there........

Yes, you are being watched as you surf the Internet. Only yesterday someone complained in the online IUOMA-group because he found out that anything that he writes there can be found out through GOOGLE. I replied him; the group is open. All archives of the group are open, so also the search-engines can find all these messages and they are indexed.

The same is for my site Because it is a read DOMAIN-name, the search-engines normally go through the whole site and index every page. I don't even have to tell them about new pages, because if they are hyperlinked in my site, the search-robot will find them. Actually, these search-engine is a special hobby of mine. I test them and am learning how they work. Just bought the book: Google Hacks (100 Industrial-Strenght Tipt & Tools) to learn more. You have to understand programming software to understand that book though (Publisher: O'Reilly, USA, ISBN 0-596-00447-8)

There are also ways to see who visited my site. Every page is tracked, so I know how many hits there were, where visitors come from, which country they live in, which software they use, etc. You would be amazed when you know how well you are being looked at when you surf all those pages......

Just 5 days ago I tested how quick the Google-machines actually pick up on an addition that I have added to one of the sites I have online. In only 3 days a new pages was indexed, and could be found by a search-question worldwide. That is how quick things go today!

Reaction to my Millenium-Statements

Posted By: Gik Juri (
Date: 11/10/2003 02:57
In Response To: Statements (Ruud Janssen)

Dear Ruud!

It seems to me, that You were very angry on the mail art network, when written this Statements. You are touching the most problematic themes there: quality, Internet and e-mail, selling of archives (where for me personally I have no problem), etc. I don't know about repetitions in mail art. If You mean documentation works as "Brain Cell" by Ryosuke Cohen - I can note, that it's not repetitions, but only constant form and very good doc to the networking activity at the time of printing issue. Thieving in mail art on the level of ideas, images and so on is because it's democratic network, and here is no any copyright (and it's good!). On other side, mail artists can develop ideas, created by others - why not? (In any case, stupid thieving is not interesting for big part of mail artists). And what is new? Nothing is new, we always are basing on old. Yes, mail art network has no leaders, but it has some people, whom know almost all in the network; in any case, they are, at least, experts of mail art (not only hard-workers and often shown in docs). You are absolutely right about childrens. I think, we can talk about generations in mail art network.

With best wishes,


Posted By: honoria (
Date: 11/9/2003 17:13
In Response To: Statements (Ruud Janssen)

Hi Ruud,

I am very interested in your statements. They are distillations of many years of experience in the network. I don't know anyone who makes a career in mail art, at least not in the financially supportive meaning of the term career. Most long-term participants, such as John Held Jr., spend much more money than they make from selling archives or articles. Some mail artists are also teachers who incorporate mail art into their teaching. Some mail artists are writers who incorporate mail art into their writings. Visual poets use mail as a means of distribution. There are a few scholars such as Stephen Perkins, Michael Lumb, Craig Saper, and me who have spent a lot of time researching specific aspects of mail art, but that research is not a career either, although the research is a key task in an academic career to study and understand networking cultures.

What does it mean to be a career mail artist? Who do you think is a career mail artist?

As you can see, the Internet causes quick reactions on many fronts. The above two reactions I found on the Pluxus Messaga Board (originally started by Mark Bloch). How to react to messages like this. Should I defend my thoughts from 1999? Should I try to explain that I also see negative aspects to what also can be seen as possitive. I won't start here again. Just wanted to share the reactions and keep them online a bit longer.

What happens in Message Boards is that there are hot topice, but that they dissapear as easy as well within a few weeks. The Internet is a quick medium.

Name: monty cantsin

Subject: confusing activity with accomplishment

Thu, Dec 18 2003 at 8:40 pm


By Monty Cantsin

When did correspondence art become mail art? Correspondence implies an exchange between one address to another. A touching of two physical places between the out stretched hands of the post officer. Correspondence suggests interaction. Mail art is the shorthand statement for such.

Correspondence art is about communication. Correspondence art is about an exchange of ideas. Correspondence art is political because it's using the actual channels of institutional efficiency to send a message. The tentacles of the state can reach every nook and cranny as evidence of its omniscience. Correspondence art is turning this omniscience around by encouraging the exchange of nefarious, reprehensible and even unpopular ideas within the hidden confines of the envelope. The fact that society can deliver anything it wants anywhere, at anytime. This mode of efficiency can be harnessed and we can send ideas everywhere through the arms and instruments of the state. It is an invisible fifth column. It is a hidden advertisement beneath the catalogs, post-consumer recycled suggestions and bills. But these are merely abstract, theological suggestions. What began as an interesting cultural activity has shifted into more wastepaper. I’m sick and tired of these monotonous add and pass on sheets I get in the mail. A naughty image of a woman, little rubber-stamps here and there, a few bloated, distorted colors and a plethora of addresses at the bottom. Why, I ask, am I supposed to add and pass this trash on? What does this say, what does this imply? That some people like getting grungy folded up sheets with a bunch of addresses on them? That democracy spawns bad taste? That activity is often confused with accomplishment? No response is certainly a response. A reply is not necessarily a response and a response is not necessarily a reply. I stopped running from the post office to my desk to my own envelopes and back to the post office. I no longer feel the need to automatically respond. I write when I have something to communicate. Not that every time I communicate I have something to say. Nor every time I have something to say do I communicate. Brevity is about respect. Longwinded discourses are wrapped around the heads of adherents like damp towels to disguise heavy-handed breeding. Those clean enough to adhere to a mystical belief that all mail is good and only good mail is sent. I mean, after all, the postage was paid for, right?

I no longer race home and rip envelopes apart, checking to see how large my name is presented. Then I would quickly fold up some half baked occult oriented collages of my own, rubber stamp my name on the back (I own this, I own this thing) and I’d run back to the post office, merely for the pleasure of standing in line for a second time that day. Rather than focus on the disconcerting tendencies of contemporary “mailers”, fringe masturbating crypto-zoologists who shell out fifteen bucks for a rubber stamp and a wreath of stamps (“gimme the ones with tha bats, that’s pretty, ahem, dark”)… Instead of feeding into the doomsday book of crass finger pointing, I’m going to describe actions in which I currently engage. In which I currently pre-sent in the Present. Gedd it? Got me? A little good humorous truckin’ there, huh? I always put a personal note inside my envelopes. I always describe what’s going on with me. Especially if it’s a person I’ve never corresponded with before. I always drop in pertinent, personal details. I’m working here, I’m living here, I’m struggling with this concept, I’m considering this focus, I’m destroying my journals, I’m listening to African drum records and Byrds bootlegs, I’m watching Columbo everyday at noon while reading transcripts of LBJ’s White House tapes.

I include at least one piece of original work in every envelope. I very rarely keep anything. Most of the “pieces” I receive I throw in another envelope to send off out into space. I do not keep my envelopes in file cabinets anymore. I have a huge box designated “answered mail” and from known celebrity to non-celebrity it goes in the box. (Once a year I pick out selections I think will be someday “valuable” and these go in the filing cabinet. Don’t worry your stuff is never in that category.) The elaborate and minutely detailed list of all my sent mail was unceremoniously trashed with yesterday’s newspapers and coffee grinds. The lengthy summaries of the pseudo-contents along with the names and dates required hours to document. These sperm encrusted jottings took longer to compile than the alleged contents of the envelopes. I wasted an accumulation of months coordinating acronyms for my collages before listing what went where and to whom. I told myself it was to avoid duplication. Now I see it as an extension of my fragile ego. “Oh I am such an important mail art artist that after my death a library will no doubt have a special comfy chair for a particular grad student to say, “uhh Monty Cantsin wrote Bob Jones and sent him some ‘flotsam’. What is flotsam? Is it a secret clue? A drug? A phone number?” If my correspondents get two similar envelopes it is up to them to deal with the incongruity and inconsistency. Speaking of incongruity and inconsistency, I’d like to answer a question before it is asked. Monty Cantsin is alive and well. In spite of his open identity being claimed as his own by certain hunger artists, Monty Cantsin refuses to be silenced. Or rather, Monty Cantsin refuses to speak in secret codes and treaties. Monty Cantsin prefers to speak succinctly, casually and without shame. The open pop star remains open, especially to refute claims and counterclaims of a hermetically sealed universe. Every male and female correspondence artist is a Star. Correspondence is the Law, Correspondence under Will.

The above text was placed on the mail-art projects group of IUOMA. An interesting text that tells a lot of how the older generation is looking at what is happening 'in the name of mail-art' these days.

will be continued soon.....

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