2013. Artpool - The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe
Artpool is considerably more than "The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe". That may be a description of their primary purpose but it's far from doing the broadness of their archive justice. In Kristine Stiles's Foreword to this book she writes:
""If God inhabited the former communist-dominated Hungary at all, s/he sardonically heaped generous does of state induced fear on the population to insure that it remain submissive. In the meantime, naïve western obervers chuckled in self-satisfied superiority, calling Hungary "the merriest barracks in the camp" of the Soviet bloc, while the state exacerbated Galántai's anxieties in the quantities of slander, denunciation, and surveillance. The most direct consequences of such pressure came in 1973 when the state shut down the chapel that Galántai founded in 1968 in the lakeside town of Balatonboglár. Having converted the chapel into a studio and opening it to an exhibition space in 1970, the ban put a temporary end to his work and the activities of the thriving community of conceptual artists exhibiting their advanced work in his chapel studio. Two difficult decades ensued for Galantái, whose daily life was recorded and reported to the authorities until 1989. However, the effort to intimidate, subdue, silence, and defeat him did not succeed in forcing the artist to take the route of philosophical suicide"
"Galantái saved his fate in no small measure with and because of Júlia Klaniczay. She stood with him not as a comrade but as a lover, and together they launched Artpool in 1979."
I'm not sure when I 1st started corresponding with the folks at Artpool but I imagine it was in the 1980s when their efforts would've still been underground. I've always identified with samizdat Eastern European culture during Soviet domination because I felt like I was working under parallel conditions under capitalism. In the US I was 'free' to create my work as long as I could handle being impoverished & hated. Artpool did what they could in whatever way they could, I did the same.
One of the main differences between Artpool's situation & my own is that the U.S.S.R. finally collapsed in 1989 & Artpool was able to be better appreciated & funded. They deserve the improvement in their condition. Here in the US, I'm still as hated & neglected as ever, probably even more so.
In 1995 I participated in their "Year of Performance" by sending them a VHS tape with 12 performance movies on it. Below are some of the relevant pages from "Artpool - The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe" about this:
Artpool was conscientious about getting documentation to participants, a practice dear to any networker/aRCHIVist's brain. Below is an enlargemt of the above catalog cover + the page that includes my entry:
Philip Corner & I were the only people representing the US!
Alas, the usual lost-in-translation problems prevailed: the majority of the titles listed above are incorrect:
"A double negative as not a positive" - correct
"Great Moments Wood Ball Sports: A Cue Stick Guitar Duet" should be "Great Moments in Odd-Ball Sports: A Cue Stick Guitar Duet"
"Transparent Smile - Monty Cantsin performing with white collars" should be "Transparent Smile (Monty Cantsin performing with White Colours)"
"Nudist Party" (not online) - correct
"Neoist Guide Dog" - correct
"Ward of..." should be "Ward of Mouth" (not online)
"Balling Timore is Best" should be "Balling Tim Ore is Best"
"Volunteers Collective XII. - The last transmission from the short and happy life of a meteorite" should be "Volunteers Collective XII - The Last Transmission From the Short and Happy Life of a Meteorite Nudist Camp"
"Bar From" should be "Barfroom" (not online)
"Official Neoist Chair Didaction" should be "Official Neoast Chair Didaction"
"Tender Buttons" (not online) - correct
"Diszey Sports" should be "Diszey Spots" (not online)
Now, given that English is not Artpool's 1st language & that I don't speak Magyar, it's no wonder that puns & slang such as "Odd-Ball" & "Barfroom" would be misunderstood. Add to that that they may've been reading my handwriting off the VHS label & it's no wonder that there're mistakes. It's much to the credit of international communicators in general that we at least try. Thank you, Artpool.
I finally got to meet György Galántai & Júlia Klaniczay in person in Budapest when I was there for a Neoist Festival in 1997. They attended 2 back-to-back actions of mine:
234. Sound Thinking: Phase III: Mimesis -> "Blood & Gold", etc..
- Neoista?! Puccs - Ady-Szobor / Ady Statue, (Buda)Pest, Hungary
- Wednesday, July 9th, 1997, 6PM
- See entry #217. It had been planned for Neoists to assemble at the Ady Statue so that Amen! & others could sing the Monty Cantsin song "Blood & Gold" that's based on an Ady poem. etta cetera, Jada D'Aversa, & I had arrived earlier than anyone else, so I presented this "Mimesis" thing again. We attracted a small crowd who seemed to enjoy it (or, at least, enjoy being perplexed by it). As the other Neoists arrived, Amen! gave a speech in Hungarian (probably to promote the Neoista?! Puccs Tilos Rádio Party) & we broke out the flaming steam irons. BruSeX, Brian Damage, Amen!, Gordon W., & I sang the Neoist Anthem "Catastronics". Amen! was boosted onto the Ady Statue's base where he sung "Blood & Gold" & more flaming steam irons abounded. Gordon W. pricked his finger & put blood on a forint (Hungarian money) that has Ady's picture on it (the 500 forint note?). This was borrowed from me. I was reimbursed after Amen! bought the note from Gordon for 1,000 forint.
- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
235. Egy Gyümölcsérlo Társulat Torténete / Story of a Fructiferous Society
- Venezia Poesia '97 Budapesten - Mu Színház, Buda(Pest), Hungary
- Wednesday, July 9th, 1997, 9:30PM
- See entry #226. I had been told that the time limit for this festival was 15 minutes. When discussing this with the festival director, Nagy Pál, I told him that my presentation could either be 14 minutes, if the vaudeo were to be fast-forwarded with the sound still audible for 7 minutes at a precise time, or 21 minutes (under normal conditions). I was there with Ghera at the time because she was on the same bill & she said that her thing would be only 10 minutes & Nagy Pál said that it would be no problem for me to present the entire 21 minutes of my thing - using Ghera's unused time. Moving about with etta hanging from my shoulders with a pillow case over my head isn't easy & requires unslippery floor conditions. Ladik Katalin had flour spilled on the floor during her performance before my presentation. Then there was water from someone else's. Then Ghera spit olive pits & juice on the floor. It was a slippery mess. I'd specified that I wanted the mikes at a certain place where a spotlight was supposed to be. When it was time to go out on stage, Ghera (who was wearing a sortof ball-gown that she'd worn for her performance) was steering us with great difficulty to the mikes which were still on the opposite side of the stage from where we'd requested them because of their use in the previous performance by Angela Idealism & Albert Markós. After we'd managed to make it to where the mikes were without getting my feet too slimed, the technicians realized that the mikes were in the wrong place & moved them to the other side of the stage. With Ghera's help we barely made it across the goop to the mikes' new positions. Ghera didn't undertand that we didn't want her to help anymore & hovered around us while we gyrated & moaned a bit. Within minutes we were exhausted & it was very difficult for me to remain upright with my feet covered with the residue from the previous acts. We eventually collapsed to the floor & got more goopy than ever as we dragged ourselves across the stage to our point of origin - with the confused Ghera attempting to help us & with the confused sound-men following us with the mikes. After about 13 minutes of the video we were off-stage. 2 minutes later the video was shut off without having been allowed to reach its 'punchline'. At my request, Ghera went out on stage & exclaimed that it wasn't over yet! The tech guy fumbled around for a minute or so & stuck the video back in & projected it for another minute or 2 & then turned it off again. Apparently, Nagy Pál hadn't told them that it was ok for it to go over the 15 minute limit & they cut it off because it was too long. I went out to the mike & spoke the full text that would've been the 'punchline' in English to the probably thoroughly confused audience.
- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
I went to their wonderful archive & had a brief tour. I gave them my 1st 2 records &, perhaps, other things. I recall Júlia telling me that the records were the best things anyone had ever given them. Perhaps I'm misremembering. I'm sure they must have a plethora of wonders.
Back in the US, they sent me 2 DVD-Rs from the Vác portion of the Neoist Festival:
Sending me those, of course, indicates the depths of their understanding of my own aRCHIVal obsessions.
We've had a healthy exchange over the years & I've kept track of it. Given that I've been correspondents with at least 1,400 people, if I didn't keep these file cards I'd never be able to remember all that's passed between us - let alone who everybody is & what names & addresses they've used in their various incarnations:
At one point I sent 8 DVD-Rs of my selected moviework to Artpool. Julia told me that they might be interested in creating an exhibit around them or somehow programming them. Even though this would've been in the early 2000s, long after the demise of the USSR, they still had problems with their mail being intercepted. They didn't get my mailing. I've lived most of my life in poverty so remailing them to a different address was a bit hard for me but I did it anyway. I loved the idea of the work showing there.
Alas, as far as I know, this exhibit never happened. I don't know why. Maybe they couldn't get the NTSC discs to play. Maybe they didn't like the work. Maybe it was too English-language based. Maybe movies like "Pee on "Bob"'s Head" & "Cuntralia" were too perversely sexual. Maybe they found "Cuntralia" sexist. Maybe none of the above. I was disappointed.
Mail Art archives are an enormous labor of love. There are so many active interesting people out there. Only a few of us have actually tried to keep track of it all & document it. There's Lomholt Formular Press in Denmark:
2010. Lomholt Mail Art Archive, Fotowerke and Video Work
& there's the DATA CELL archive in Scotland. It was thanks to the latter moving to Artpool that my 2nd mention in this book occurs:
Some of my own bare bones beginnings of putting my aRCHIVE online are here:
"Romancing the Kidney Stone:
A Display of Evidence in the Curious Case of
"Blaster" Al Ackerman"
"SMILEs, FILE, VILE, BILE, VAGUE, ETC . ."
"Vermin Love Supreme"
- tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE note, April 1, 2018E.V.
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
idioideo at verizon dot net
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Anti-Neoism page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Audiography page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Bibliography page
to my "Blaster" Al Ackerman index
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE BYOC page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Censored or Rejected page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Collaborations page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (d) compositions page
to Amir-ul Kafirs' Facebook page
to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's GoodReads profile
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Haircuts page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Home Tapers page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE index page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Instagram Poetry page
to a listing of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's manifestations on the Internet Archive
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewee index
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewer index
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE'S Linked-In profile
for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..
to the mm index
to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Neoism page
to the DEFINITIVE Neoism/Anti-Neoism website
to the Philosopher's Union website
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Score Movies
to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important
to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page
to Psychic Weed's Twitter page
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Vimeo index
to Vine movies relevant to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE made by Ryan Broughman
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's presence in the Visual Music Village
for info on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's tape/CD publishing label: WIdémoUTH
to a very small selection of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Writing
to the onesownthoughts YouTube channel