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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 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 .



This is the eighth list of thoughts that are supposed to be secret. (April 1998).


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.

24-04-1998 : During the past weeks I have gotten some nice reactions to these secret thoughts. Sometimes readers might think that I write about all the mail I get in, but this is hardly the case. Only a small selection I mention here! Today again lots of mail , about 10 pieces in my P.O. Box. Not always positive things. Mark Greenfield send me a few weeks ago a large envelope with in it lots of pieces of paper , copies and a set of cards (the ones you get for free at cinema's , galleries , etc.) with on it written "why this silence Ruud?". I returned the cards to him and told him that I didn't like this kind of mail. Why make the trouble to write that sentence on so many cards instead of writing a real letter or make some art. As a reaction he started to send back the cards again , one by one , adding small things to them. One of the addings I disliked even more, and I returned it with comments. He writes that he means all so positive , and that I react so negative. I know his intention is to make me answer to it, but instead I will ignore it. I only write about it in this 'secret thoughts' and since he is not online he will probably not read it immediately. I react to things that are interesting , and his mail brought nothing new to me. That I was silent is nothing new. I answer about 40% or less of the snail-mail I get in. Just can't afford to do more because time & money are limits for everybody.

Today a computer-diskette arrived. Michael Lumb finished his thesis (I wrote about it before) , and I am helping him to put it online. The first diskette he sent me contained files that weren't readable for my computer. He now tranformed them into ASCII-format , so I can read them perfectly. I already build a site for him (see the mail art link-list ) and put two beginning texts on it. In May I will try to do the rest so you can read his thesis on mail art. It will be a large text , so it will be devided into parts.

Today I also got the phonebill for the last two months. Will have to cut down on the internet a bit. It is cheaper to read a good book than to surf the net. But from John M. Bennett I received mail today in which he writes that his L & FT is online with the help of his son. Will have to look at Lost & Found Times online to see how this looks. Maybe you are curious as well?

As you will notice I already had a look and found some of John M. Bennett's visual poems there. His son might start to increase the collection , and it is always fun to see John's work in full-color! This page is just one of the pages his son put online. The new generation is active on the internet as well...!

20-04-1998 : Those animated gif's are always fun. They bring live to the computer-screen , and make the texts on the screen different from the printed versions on paper. That is why I like them so much. These animated gif's aren't always quickly made, it is like a little video-film in which you have to make every frame. For Ray Johnson I made this one:

tam honors Ray Johnson on the Internet

A simple text-banner , but still it consisted of about 30 frames. Because it is just letters on a coloured background, I was able to make it in about 25 minutes. Here is the result for your pleasure. Lots of people on the internet never heard of MAIL ART or RAY JOHNSON , but the mail-art he started had a simular structure as the internet has. One should know his history and thanks to what Ray started, my life has had some strange and unexpected changes. Feel free to copy and use the banner I made.

18-04-1998 : The tools that are available for the persons who are working online are becoming easier and easier. I just transformed a text I had made with a textprocessor into a HTML-document with the help of MS Office 97. The results you can see , it is the OVERVIEW of the public thoughts that I have written. These modern text-processors can do anything you would like to do. Include colours , graphics , charts, etc.....

I did more work online today. When I am done with it (just a few minutes ago) it is always a surprise who will see it to to the statistical charts and how they will react. The first thing I put online just now is the update of the IM98-project #3 by Vittore Baroni. This time I din't convert the file he sent too much so it resembles the original e-mail he sent me. The other thing I put online are three STATISTICAL CHARTS that I have kept on my computer. I like to watch these graphics , must be due to my technical training. I have decided to give you a glimpse as well. The charts will be updated now and then , so you can see how my mail-activities (including the snail-mail) are developing.

The chart I put in these secret thoughts is just one of them, and it shows how often my site is viewed by others. I can see through some statistics who they are , but what the viewers do with the information is not always known to me. One other chart (of my snail-mail that I send out each month) shows that , unlike Andrey Tisma and others , I still am active in the snail-mail as well. As I wrote in the Internet-manifesto by Guy Bleus , "a mail-artists isn't bound to any specific communication-form" , and I choose the communication-form I feel fits for the message. So it might be that I answer a snail-mail with an e-mail , an e-mail with a snail-mail , or whatever. It all has to do with creative communication!

15-04-1998 : Today only one piece of mail in my P.O. Box. From Dobrica in Yugoslavia I received Open World number 99. Don't forget to send him something special for his 100th issue! (his address can be found in secret thoughts number 6 . In the electronic form I received a lot more mail. E-mail never takes a break , and one always determins him/her-self when one collects the e-mail. A first e-mail from Jenny de Groot (she has now the e-mail address

Also e-mail from Charles François from Belgium. He visits my site a lot and he himself also has several sites which I like to look at (see the mail art link list I keep at this site). He wondered why this serie is called secret thoughts since everybody can access the words and visuals as soon as I have written them. He thought the word Online Diary would be better. There is a strange contradiction in these choices of two words (online and diary). A diary is written for oneself and not intended to be read by others. Secret Thoughts , is also a strange choice of words. They are not really secret when they are accesible for everybody online. But the intention of these secret thoughts are -- as Charles pointed out -- the same as the online diary. Because of the WWW-format I can use any visual image I see and put it here for you to see. I can even link you to other pages that I have visited , and from these links you will let your own thoughts guide you in your search on the WWW. There are more people who keep online diaries, and if you look a bit around you will find them. Charles also told me he had the idea of starting something like this back in 1995. What he is doing now is also interesting. His VTCAM-machine shows you the status of his workingplace whenever you want it. The new thing he started is a single page (where he put the IUOMA-logo on as well , thank you Charles!) which contians a single digital photo he plans to change very frequently.

A pitty if you missed the first two photos but no problem on the internet. I downloaded the images and have put them besides these words. The first photo is one he took during the NETRUN-happening by Shozo Shimamoto and Ryosuke Cohen from Japan. Pawel Petasz was also online and I know he likes to change graphics. He did so with the image/photo Charles put online, and so I could see this change very quickly. Now there is a new graphic online........ It is an experiment from Charles , so I am not spreading the URL here. Just send an e-mail to Charles if you want to know more. Always enough ideas for mail artists , the problem is always finding the time to do things. Only in this specific period in my life I have time for these large works (the online stories , the mail-interviews , the IUOMA-work , etc.) and it might change real soon since things in my work-life and privat-life are changing. Those stories would be real secret thoughts , but I know where to draw the line between privat and public.

13-04-1998 : From a CD-ROM I got a new program that makes it very easy to make animated gif-files yourself. The first experiments are with texts only and the results are already integrated in the lay-out online.

go to the IUOMA-pageThe last one I made is the file for becoming a member of the IUOMA. As some might have noticed the IUOMA has launched a new advertising-campain. Stickers (which you will see more and more on the mail in the snail-mail world), rubberstamps (already got the first reaction from the USA where someone bought the rubberstamp) , and now the graphics on the internet. Reid Wood put the IUOMA-member sign on his site , and I am hoping that more and more people will state that they are a member of the IUOMA.

05-04-1998 : From Bruno Capatti (Via L. Lumininasi, 22 / 40059 Medicina (BO) / Italy) I received an invitation to his new Personal Nets - a mail art operation project. He asks on a A4-paper to write down your own address , and then to add the addresses of 9 artists , networkers, mail artists with which in the last 6 months you had exchanges particularly expressive. He promisses documentation to the participants. I have thought a lot about this project. Should I send Bruno the addresses of my most closest and best contacts? The fact that they are my best and closest contacts is because we selected to share lots of time on the mail we exchange. By sharing their addresses with others I would only cause others to start to write to these addresses as well, where the energy might be devided over more. The mail art I receive lately shows a lot what happens with this time & energy problem. When a mail artist (or networker or artist , what is in a name) wants to spend an amount of time (=energy) on his art , then he can devide the time over lots of different items. Every item only contains a little of his energy, and therefore doesn't show what the artist is capable to do. On the other hand , when you create one big piece and spend all you energy on it , you can't easily just send (= give away) this to someone else. Every artist has to find the balance in how much energy he/she wants to spend on an individual piece of art (including mail-art), but I know I don't like the hasty works anymore. To the group of mail artists with whom I had "exchanges particularly expressive" - as Bruno called it - I have found the group that shares the time & energy on a same level. I won't send Bruno the addresses, I will send him this text. Maybe he understands it.

From Nancy Mandel somewhere in the USA I received an e-mail. She wants to interview me for the magazine Rubberstampmadness. This is the third attempt of this magazine to do something like this. The first interview was done by Kate Lanxner in 1985 about all the activities of TAM at that time. In 1996 Freya did an interview about the TAM-Rubber Stamp Archive and the exhibit in San Francisco (but due to passing the deadline the interview never got published). Now Nancy wants to write something about how the mail-artists (including the rubber stampers) are moving onto the internet. Rubberstampmadness has its own site already (see the MAIL-ART LINKS) , and it is updated every two months with items from their large (hardcopy) publication. These secret thoughts are in a way an example of how the Internet has changed the way we communicate. I write in a public medium and send prints of the 'thoughts' to the persons I write about. But the whole process is visible to everybody that is interested. The fun of the interview Nancy will be doing is that I don't have to tell her all kind of details about the activities I am doing with TAM or IUOMA or the Archive. She can go through the hundreds of pages that I have put online , read complete interviews , and can do all her research online. I asked her to send specific questions, which I will answer. I will keep you informed....

03-04-1998 : Today the envelope with rubber stamps designed by The Sticker Dude (Joel) from NY (USA) arrived. He made 4 rubberstamps for me , and I already started to use them. He also asked me in advance if it was o.k. for him to sell rubber stamps of these designes himself. Of course I don't mind. He made the designs and stamps free for the TAM Rubber Stamp Archive and the IUOMA , and it all costs money. There is nothing wrong with selling this kind of things to interested people. I know there are purists in the mail art network who don't like this , but all the facts of the history in the mail art network show that it is normal! Only for mail art projects , the participanst should get their free copy of the documentation, but the extra copies were always sold by the organizers. They have to balance the budget too. The story of Money and mail art don't mix has always been a hot topic. What does the current network think of this?

01-04-1998 : April the first. The day for jokes. It will be a surprise to find out if somebody played a joke on me. At the moment I know that several mail artists DO actually follow this online-diary. The files itself are interesting , and I have decides to make a book out of these secret thoughts once they are finished with #9. The book is easily available for everybody , since one just has to print out the series of files and bind them. I only need a color-printer to do that, so that I can make originals to be xeroxes for the publication.

I have only subscribed to very few discussion-groups. One of them is the Fluxus-online discussion. Not that it is always interesting, but I have noticed that a lot of artists and fluxus-artists DO subscribe to the list and now and then the discussion gives very good news and information. I do not call myself a fluxus-artist. I might be in contact with some fluxus artists , but for me it is somehow a closed chapter. One can re-do the fluxus works, but I myself don't like to re-do things unless they have a strong meaning for me. I received an important e-mail about the fluxus-discussion just today: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 10:48:37 -0500
From: fluxlist-digest
To: fluxlist-digest@jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Subject: fluxlist-digest V1 #1

fluxlist-digest Wednesday, April 1 1998  Volume 01 : Number 001

In this issue:

  malgosia askanas       test                                    
  "allen bukoff"         fluxus zeit puzzle:  die 90er jahre     
  malgosia askanas       FLUXLIST: A very short explanation                

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 16:49:32 -0500 (EST)
From: malgosia askanas 
Subject: test



Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 19:40:36 -0500
From: "allen bukoff" 
Subject: fluxus zeit puzzle:  die 90er jahre

A picture of Benjamin Boehm's recent Fluxus work, ""fluxus zeit
puzzle: die 90er jahre" ("fluxus time jigsaw puzzle: the 
nineties") published in the German magazine _max_ is now 
available at

You can contact Benjamin at

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 20:23:28 -0500 (EST)
From: malgosia askanas 
Subject: FLUXLIST: A very short explanation

The computer that Fluxlist is hosted on is being moved.
  So we've temporarily moved fluxlist to a new location, 
where it can continue without interruption.
The list address is The
listserver address is
Allen will tell it all in much greater detail later.

- -malgosia


End of fluxlist-digest V1 #1

Just yesterday I re-read the mail-interview I did with Edgardo Antonio Vigo and corrected a few of the language-errors. After that I sent the complete file to Jas W. Felter , who helps me with putting them in his virtual library , and then I sent a copy of the file to my e-mail list. So everybody can read the text now, and I started to work on the booklet-version. I will include the personal correspondence I had with Vigo as well. Just this once to give you an idea what kind person Vigo was.

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 than publish secrets?

copyright TAM 1998. reactions to :

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