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SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT MAIL ART - PART-1
STATEMENTS from RUUD JANSSEN.
(some thoughts about mail-art , August 1993)
TO KNOW MAIL-ART....?
- The only people who 'really' know what Mail-Art is all about , are the ones that practice it. I tried several times to explain to others what mail-art is all about, but they never really understood it. Sure, they know that it has to do with mail and art , but there is more to Mail-Art then just sending out a decorated envelope to somebody else.
- When two mail-artists meet , and talk about this 'mail-art' they will always discover that it is something different for both of them. It is the way you have experienced mail-art , and how much it has affected your li fe.
- Lucky enough it is quite easy to practice mail-art. Once you call your self a mail-artist , in fact you are one. There are no fixed rules , there is no quality-demand , there is no-one who will judge your work (besides saying it is good or bad mail-art , it is always mail-art).
- Mail-art is a kind of energy that is passed on to the receiver. The sender can put his energy in a transmittable form , a mail-piece , and send it to the receiver. If the energy is on the same 'wave-length' for sender and receiver , it will surely cause a reaction. Energy is transmitted back.
- Mail-art doesn't have to be an envelope or a postcard. All other communication-forms there are to cover the distance are allowed. Computer , Fax , balloons , pigeons , it doesn't really matter. The important thing is to get the message from one point to another.
- Some 'older' mail-artists always think that they know what mail-art is. Well , I don't know what it is. I only know that it is guiding my life now. It brings so many new things that I feel it will stay in my life.
- Do you know what mail-art is all about? Please inform me , and we will find out that we both don't know. But when two mail-artists meet (by mail or any other way) , they always know more....
TO FEEL MAIL-ART.
- It is a very satisfying moment , the time you are able to collect your mail. Some mail-artist have a P.O.Box , so it is a very private moment. You don't have to wait for the postman , but you just go to the postoffice and choose your own moment of truth : is there any mail today?
- After getting your mail , the pleasure is to explore it. Outside and inside of the mail. Sometimes it takes only a few minutes , but some mail might take more then an hour (e.g. when it is an audio-cassette or a book).
- When you are lucky , you are able to answer the mail-art you get. Lucky means you have the time , the energy , and the money , to answer the mail. This is always the problem. If you answer everything you receive, the amount of mail you receive will only grow. It will grow until it is out of control. But then the time , energy and money balance always gets it in order again. (it works for me that way , and I surely hope it also works for others too).
- Sometimes mail-art doesn't seem to work. I know that when on a certain day I have sent out really quite a lot of mail , normally the next day I myself don't get that much mail. But on the moments that I am far too busy I sometimes just get these incredible piles of mail I never unable to answer.
- How sad you will ever feel , it doesn't matter. Being busy with mail-art lets you forget most things. Art is a strange thing. You can create images of things that weren't there before. You can share emotions with friends.
- Whenever I meet a mail-artist (and I have met quite a lot in the past 13 years I am involved is mail-art) it is always unpredictable. Are they what you expected them to be. Do they communicate the same by voice as they did by mail , are they as interesting as you thought they would be?
- Another thing that always comes up in my mind when I think of mail- art is , that I have the feeling I am not alone on this world. Lots of people have the same 'drive' as I have. They are searching for new things in their lives. They are facing the problems they are encountering. And problems are not really problems when you can share them with friends.
TO EXPLAIN MAIL-ART.
- So , why do I do this mail-art thing? Is it the need to communicate? I can do this with friends and family too. No , it is the need to explore what life is all about. Mail-art gives you so many views , so many ideas just come into your mail-art. And as I found out , my ideas also inspire others to do new things. It is a need to learn.
- Why explain mail-art at all? So many thousands of people are sen ding things to each other. And I know that they are all enjoying it (aren't we?).
- The one who reads this collection of statements probably knows already about mail-art. But still I can't explain mail-art just like that. Even talking 'face-to-face' with a mail-artist , I know that I am still looking for the unfound words to explain this strange communication-form.
CAN YOU STOP WITH MAIL-ART?
- Sometimes I get those letters. A mail-artist writes to me that he stops with mail-art. I never know how to reply to such a letter. Does it mean that he/she doesn't want to communicate anymore , doesn't he/she have the money for it? It is sometimes a riddle. Why did he/she took the effort to write me that I shouldn't write to him/her anymore.
- The only way to stop with mail-art is to return all mail to sender , or a more comfortable way is to move to another place. But ones you have sent your new address to a single person in the network , the mail to your address might start again. There are always mail-artists reaching out to you.
- Even when a mail-artist dies , it really doesn't stop. The rest will talk and write about him/her. There is only no reply to these words unless family and/or friends take over.
- But can you stop with mail-art? After a tragedy in you life , an econo mical crisis , loosing close friends , just a strong reason. It is different for all. But I have the feeling that I will always miss something in my life if that mail-box would stay empty. I am willing to send out energy to prevent that to happen.
version of this text : August 1993 , reprint December 1995
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updated version: 22-6-1997
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