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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 previous secret thoughts online:

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 .



This is the fourth list of thoughts that are supposed to be secret. (December 1997)


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.

I have decided to continue , more secret thoughts in 1998 available here!

24-12-1997 : The day before Christmas. Today only few pieces of mail. One of them from Bernd (Belgium). He reacts to the pages I have put online about the IUOMA (International Union Of Mail Artists). Because I write there that the Union is a joke, this is reason enough for him to become a member and he askes for the memership-card for 1998. I sent it to him this morning. Yes, the Union is a joke, but on the other side it is just because there are no rules for the Union as well. Anybody who wants to become a member is a member. Anyone who wants a special function in the Union can just claim it. The memership-cards are my idea. It even says that you got discount when you show it at your local Postal Office. And, believe it or not, already three members got a discount by showing the card. Only fair to say that another mail artist was threatened with the police when he showed the card. Union-members still have to fight for their rights uh........

Sometimes I wonder what is, and what isn't mail art. An example. Some months ago I got a message from Charles François (Belgium) that the ESA is doing a project. One can send a message or a digitized signature to them via e-mail. I did so, and beginning December I received the documentation of this project. About 80,000 people reacted to this e-mail, and the ESA (European Space Agency - France) made a special CD-ROM out of all the contributions. Each participant receiced a copy of the CD-ROM (which included also a nice video-clip as advertising to their project) and the original (MASTER) was launched onboard ESA's Huygens probe to Saturn and Titan, on 15 October 1997. My first mail to an address NOT on this Earth. Is this a mail art project? When one looks to the rules one should follow for a mail-art project : they did follow these rules. Only the organizer of the project has millions of Dollars to spend, and decided to do this project to involve the 'normal public' with their space project. Anyhow, the two electronic messages I sent will reach Saturn in 2004. Who ever said that electronic mail is fast.....? After getting the CD-ROM I discovered that other mail artists sent in their messages as well , Guy Bleus, Charles François , H.R. Fricker I could discover on this huge participants-list of 80,000 people. Is this the largest mail-art project ever held? What do you think?

23-12-1997 : Amongst the mail I received today there were three envelopes from Ryosuke Cohen's BRAIN CELL project (the illustration besides this text is an example of an older one that he produced). For those of you who don't know about the project: He collects images and icons from all over the world, and every two weeks he makes a coloured collage out of them. It is done in a special way, so that the colors form a collage as well. Most interesting for me is always to see the addresslist. Some mail artists seem to be on every list, so they are the collectors. I send in something every few months, just to see who is on the list. Is gives an idea of the current network. The address : Ryosuke Cohen / 3 - 76 - 1 - A - 613 / Yagumokitacho / Moriguchi-City / Japan.

The image besides this text was scanned by Gerardo Yepiz in Mexico (by the way, In January 1998 he is moving to San Diego in CA , USA!). He published a text about this BRAINCELL project, and by clicking on the image you will go there....... This is just one of the 10 BRAINCELL-collages he has put online, and also there are texts written by Ryosuke Cohen translated into english language.

It seems like a lot of work, to make this coloured collage every two weeks, but sometimes students of Ryosuke help him with this work. He also makes books out of 20 collage-sheets and sends them to Archives or collectors. When I met Ryosuke in 1990 during the NETRUN in Köln, I got one of those from him personally.

22-12-1997 : Not much mail on this monday. Sometimes these mondays are a blessing since they don't bring too many new things that require my attention and I am free to do other things like play or tidy the house. But it is also a dillema. Mail art is THE way to get new impulses in your art. Sometimes a small piece of mail can start a new way in your life or art. But it is also a dillema. Mail art is THE way to get new impulses in your art. Sometimes a small piece of mail can start a new way in your life or art.

16-12-1997 : The dark days before Christmas. Besides the normal mail I also start to get Christmas-cards. I don't make special Christmas-cards to send out as a reply. I just buy them in a store, and somehow I see this sending and receiving of those things as something like a tradition. Of course in the mail art network some people design their own cards and I receive those as well. But no creativity from my side in this area. Somehow I don't bother to invest too much in the art of these cards. The message on the cards for me is more important, and these Christmas-cards are things I share with personal friends and family. Bus as you might have guessed, some people I met in the mail art net have become personal friends, and they get a card as well.......

The new year is coming closer, and this experiment of "secret thoughts" is coming to an end as well. I only had few reactions to the texts, and actually I don't even know if someone reads them at all. I spent a lot of time in this experiment. Writing thoughts on the computer and putting them online instantly. Maybe some readers didn't think that these are secrets. Well, there is always the self-censorship one applies. Some real secrets are always kept secret. Somehow the mail art network is also a place where info travels to all corners of the world. The death of Edgardo Antonio Vigo was spread with an amazing speed since a lot of mail artists are online now as well. Some try to do all online and see that as the future. I still don't think that. It is a new way of communication that has come in the collection of tools for the mail artists. But every communication-form has its own advantages. I like to use the proper tool for the right occasion.

10-12-1997 : Lots of mail these last days. When Christmas comes nearer it seems that in the long nights lots of mail artists start to write more........ I have to try to answer some of it, but somehow I am always busy with all kind of things that are important too.

Also mail from the postal office here in the Netherlands. It is obvious that they have become a commercial institute. With all the nice things they send they still managed to make everything more expensive. Postal Rates will go up again with January 1st 1998. And the beloved P.O.Box so many of us have used to be free here in the Netherlands. But now they start to ask a fee for it. Not that little too, it will cost me 250 Dutch Guilders each year now. They claim that this special service (putting my mail in a box every morning at the postal office) costs them a lot of money , since the postal men still have to walk their routes to the houses. I imagine that when every body would close their P.O. Boxes, they would need more men to carry it all. But the trick is that most businesses (and also mail artists) like to get their mail early in the morning. That is one of the reasons people have these P.O.Boxes. Just one of the reasons, because my mail at the P.O. Box also gets damaged less, doesn't get wet because of the rain, and also when I am away during vacations, they save the mail without problems. O.K. That Postal Service is going to cost me money. They are pushing people more and more into the use of the telecommunication methods. But with this they also earn a lot of money.........

07-12-1997 : Today is a Sunday, the day without receiving mail. Well, it used to be like that because with the electronic communication-ways the time-factor in our communication has changed a lot.

Yesterday I received two pieces of mail from Guy Bleus. He is always so busy and has arranged an exhibition about my work with the mail-interviews at the Provinciaal Centrum voor Beeldende Kunsten in Hasselt , Belgium. The exhibition will be there in the E-MAIL-ART Archives from Guy Bleus from 3 till 30th December 1997 , so if you are in the neighbourhood , have a look. The other piece of mail I received from Guy was the catalog of his latest FAX / Internet project about the Miners which was beautifully done. All lots of work..... Latest secret for you: the text of Guy Bleus's interview is ready now and I hope soon the text can be online.

02-12-1997 : Today I collected my mail again. Another reaction to my Thoughts #17 , to which I reacted by changing the file again. Also mail from Günther Ruch. It is typical, this mail of the people I interview shows a lot of the character of that persons. Günther wonders where the booklet-version of his interview is. His mail isn't at all nice to receive. It shows no respect for the many hours of work I have spent and am still spending on this huge MAIL INTERVIEW PROJECT and he is just concerned with his own part in this project. His interview will also show how Günther is. No need to write it down here since the interview is already online and you can find the complete text. He himself doesn't have access to internet , so I sent him the clean text and the diskette of the interview. A nice detail: he sent copies of the text to others himself, so he seems very eager to spread his interview. For me it is just one in the serie and I have more interviews waiting to be published. All a question of time and money.......

Another piece of mail from Argentina this time. I have received a lot of mail from this country lately and I don't know why. Probably someone has published my address there because I only receive small artworks and no letters with the mail. Sometimes I feel sorry that I don't have the time to answer it all....... But there just isn't enough time.

01-12-1997 : Yes, it is very tempting to put all those graphics on your homepage. What I sometimes forget is that only few see the results, and also that only few love these moving graphics because it takes so much time for the computer to download them from the provider I have put them on. But nevertheless I put some of those funny things online. Especially the animated .GIF files are interesting. All those things are available, and the bouncing heart I just got from a site full of these animations.

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?

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