you can also have a look on the 'public' thoughts about mail-art that are online:
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18
or have a look at the other secret thoughts online:
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 .
BY RUUD JANSSEN
This is the second list of thoughts that are supposed to be secret.
Reproduction of this text is allowed provided that the text isn't changed, source is mentioned, and a copy of the magazine where the text is included in, is sent to TAM.
29-10-1997 : The more I work on the internet, the more I realize I still value those old-fashioned snail-mail. By this snail-mail I got some nice mail from Géza Perneczky in Köln , Germany. He is working on a new book, which is called the first network , a nice reference to the snail-mail art world. He will be including some quotations from my mail-interview projcet, so of course I am honored by the idea. A nice detail is that me & Géze communicate by snail-mail, but the texts he wants to quote from the interviews, he doesn't have to type them. He downloaded them from the internet. Every communication-tool has its own advantages.
Another book on mail-art is coming out sooner. Vittore Baroni has been busy, and together with Piermario Ciani he has formed the AAA-editions. Already a dozen books have been published, and on November 10th 1997 Vittore's book , with lots of illustrations , will see the light. The first book on mail art published in italian (as Vittore claims).
17-10-1997 : Almost a week now the MAIL ART ONLINE assembly has been going on. It is supposed to be a online discussion on the subject of mail art. There are already 24 messages on this BBS-system, but if you look closely you will find out that so far only 4 people are participating. All have a different angle. One of them presents a lot of the snail mail art projects that are going on. I don't mind , but think it is useless to advertise for snail-mail projects in en e-mail format. Most currious is the fact that Andrej Tisma seems to have turned completely into a cybernaut. He writes that he isn't interested in snail-mail anymore and he believes soon everybody will be doing e-mail. It this the truth? We will see. Mostly the reality isn't that shocking. I believe we have just found a new way of communicating. It is just added to the many more forms that there are. Sure. e-mail is cheap once you get all the hardware and software installed and pay for a subscription to a provider. I have written before about the differences between mail art and (e-) mail art in a long article that you could read again. Just currious; do you read the text on screen or do you read it when you have printed it on paper. I must confess that even after 20 years working with computers, I still do the later.
07-10-1997 : As most of you know I spend a lot of time on the internet. Not that much connected to mail art I must say, although the site I have put up IS about mail art. It is still a bit odd to receive an e-mail with an invitation to a mail art project. I rarely send mail art contributions by e-mail because the e-mail limits me too much. Everything has to be converted to digital formats, and that is just too limiting for the things I like to make. What I like to do on the internet is communicating and researching. Especially learning the tricks the search-engines work with. For this research I even put a few java-script lines on some of my pages so I can actually see how people stumble onto my pages. Some links on other sites bring about the connection. Sometimes a reaction to an e-mail (the URL-address is mentioned in my e-mails), and sometimes a search-engine directs people to my pages.
The pages I have put online are just texts about mail art. Statements, articles, thoughts, and even complete interviews. But if someone reads these texts, prints them or even distributes them to others. It isn't really mail art for me. It is electronic communication and I am interested in communication-processes. When I explained a few months ago to a professor what I was doing, he summed it up quite nicely: "ah... you are a communication-artist".
03-10-1997 : Today I received the next answer in the interview I am doing with Jonathan Stangroom. Normally besides the sending and receiving of questions and answers we also exchange personal letters. This time he wrote something about the kind of questions I normally ask. He says : "One thing that interests me about your interviewing process is that you never ask personal questions. What a given mail artist does to support them self , for instance. I realize that you're trying to find out how the artists work within the network, but I think it would be invaluable information to know what we all do outside the network"
Maybe Jonathan is right, but some of the interviews do contain a lot of personal stuff. Mostly I leave it up to the interviewed person what he wants to reveil or not. But I realize that for some mail artists I am in contact with I only know the "mail-art side" of their lives. On the other hand I have build a lot of personal friendships inside the mail art network which I consider to be private. To go even further, most personal mail I get I never dupplicate or share with others. The interviews are a way to look for a middle-way. The interviewed person has a chance to share the part he wants to share with the network.
01-10-1997 : As you will have noticed, these secret thoughts have become a serie. Whenever I have the time and am online I write a few lines in these files. I have decided to try to keep this up for four months, and one monthh (although I only started halfway) is already over. It is easy to work with all that internet software if you are used to it. I work now with Netscape Communicator (June , version 4.01), where all is integrated. Also at the college where I work I have access to internet, but this is mainly for the students I teach to get a feeling of what the internet is all about. Crackerjack Kid wrote on his site that I "finally embraced the internet". Not my words. He should know that I am already 20 years active with computers, and started with datacommunication in 1987. He claims to have the first ezine, an electronic zine, but maybe he forgot that the TAM-Bulletin got online digital in the end of the 80-ies.... It isn't important to be first. But it is needed to write correctly about things. I have noticed that this doesn't always happen. Another example, I met two mail-artists (Witta from Denmark , and Michael Leigh from England) who both claim to have the largest stamp. Both just claim this, but never did any research about it. Typical mail-art.....
In principle these thoughts are online only. But maybe I might distribute some prints via snail-mail. You, as a reader, can do the same as well, and you are even encouraged to do so, or to publish these secrets. What more fun is there to do then publish secrets?
copyright TAM 1997 reactions to : email@example.com