FIVE YEARS IN MAIL ART – WHAT’S LEFT? FOR EXAMPLE: BIFIDUS JONES

On half a decade at a certain mail art platform (02/10 – 04/15) I look back with mixed feelings. Having been very “active” during that time didn’t generate only friendly attitudes concerning my person. As in all communities some nasty things happened too sometimes. What astonished me most had been the absolute reluctance of most of my fellow members to “show” their faces. It’s weird, as if you were in another Dr. Mabuse novel! One never knows whether the communicating counterpart is “real” or not. I found that always the strangest part of it all. But that’s “history” now so to speak. There had been a few highlights, I admit, and I intend blogging them here one after the other. I start with an interactive event that happened in the summer of 2011. Being an admirer of the late Dieter Roth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Roth), a Swiss-German artist, I had read about his first US solo exhibition in 1970 (https://theartstack.com/artist/dieter-roth/staple-cheese-race), (http://www.pacificstandardtalk.com/explore/2011/11/perceptual-conceptual-echoes-of-eugenia-butler-2/), and  I thought you could do that, or better, something similar, of course! So I picked out one of my platform friends who I thought would be able to handle IT – and how he was! What I sent out to him on June 3rd, 2011 was this:

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (1)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (2)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (3)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (4)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (5)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (6)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (7)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (8)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (9)

STAPLE CHEESE - A TRY (10)On June 16th the recipient published the following blog at that certain mail art platform:

Reincarnated from Erni Bär, Germany–Dieter Roth: My life as Camenbert (the Fragrant Period)
Posted by Bifidus Jones on June 16, 2011 at 6:30pm

01 (June 16th, 2011)In an effort to honor the late Dieter Roth, whose opening exhibit in the U.S. consisted of nearly 40suitcases of rotting cheese, Erni sent me Camembert which arrived the other day. The post office shrouded it in plastic due to the stench, I imagine. I invited friends and family to the grand opening.

02 (June 16th, 2011)

03 (June 16th, 2011)

04 (June 16th, 2011)

06 (June 16th, 2011)

05 (June 16th, 2011)

07 (June 16th, 2011)

Then it was time to assemble the exhibit with the help of an audience member:

08 (June 16th, 2011)

09 (June 16th, 2011)

10 (June 16th, 2011)

11 (June 16th, 2011) StapleCheese

Due to the rainy weather, or perhaps cowardliness, only two people showed up for the opening reception:

12 (June 16th, 2011)

I am hopeful however, and have left the binoculars case and cheese on the table outside my house near the public sidewalk. I plan to take photographs regularly to document the decomposition of the exhibit or until city officials hand me a citation to clear it away. Lincoln Avenue may never be the same. Flies are already using the cheese as a breeding ground…

So much for Bifidud Jones’s original blog that can still be seen on www under: http://iuoma-network.ning.com/profiles/blogs/reincarnated-from-erni-baer

But I don’t trust that platform’s administration anymore having my reasons. Check out how many viewers and comments there have been until present, but all my writing has been deleted when I left the platform some weeks ago. There were many more nice shots Bifidus had made and inserted. Here they are in chronological order until the burial of the camenbert pieces on July 5th:

Comment by Bifidus Jones on June 20, 2011 at 2:35pm

The Staple Cheese Exhibit is visited by local airport employee:

13 (June 20th, 2011)

who found my cat interesting too.

Comment by Bifidus Jones on June 22, 2011 at 4:14pm

Today’s Staple Cheese after the heavy rain:

14 (June 22nd, 2011)

If some scientists want to prove the concept of time, all they have to do is follow this blog. And I think there are larger (dare I say poetic, de villo?) themes at play: decay, love, and other natural events. The neighbor across the street finally stopped over this morning, wanting to know what the sour smell was floating toward his porch. “Reminds me of my childhood,” was all he would say.

15 (June 22nd, 2011)

Comment by Bifidus Jones on June 27, 2011 at 2:19pm

16 (June 27th, 2011)

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Let us go and make our visit.

From the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

Comment by Bifidus Jones on June 30, 2011 at 2:08am

Maggots make their debut in the Dieter Roth Staple Cheese Exhibit:

17 (June 30th, 2011)

they are the same color and texture of the cheese–how poetic is that?!–but if you look closely you cansee them in the center of the photo. Diane Keys’ [late] entry–one can o’ cheese spray and one bag o’ crap:

18 (June 30th, 2011)

19 (June 30th, 2011)

My niece from Singapore bravely looked on, and by the tears in her eyes I could see how overwhelmed with pride she was and I think she has come to appreciate what a unique asset I am to the family.

Comment by Bifidus Jones on July 5, 2011 at 9:06pm

Due to the volatile nature of Erni’s mail art, closing ceremonies were held today for the Dieter Roth Staple Cheese Exhibit:

20 (July 5th, 2011)

21 (July 5th, 2011)

22 (July 5th, 2011)

The Staple Cheese was buried today in my garden beneath the Korean Spice bush. Maybe I’ll dig it up a year from now to see what it looks like. Here is a final list of signatures belonging to the beings brave and curious enough to enlighten themselves by stopping by the exhibit:

23 (July 5th, 2011) Staple Cheese

Thank you Herr Erni for this fantastic, mind-blowing opportunity. I’ll close now with some words by the late, great Dieter Roth:

“I’m not going to let anybody tell me not to be unmoral. Why shouldn’t we be pigs? Why shouldn’t I experience the fall? Why shouldn’t I be allowed to express it, why shouldn’t I be silly? It’s all in the context of so-called art so it doesn’t hurt anybody.”


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13 thoughts on “FIVE YEARS IN MAIL ART – WHAT’S LEFT? FOR EXAMPLE: BIFIDUS JONES

  1. This has been an awful lot of work on a rainy Sunday afternoon, folks! Thanks again after all those years, Bifidus. Those were happy times together.

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    1. Well, well, and what is THIS:

      “Comment by De Villo Sloan on June 16, 2011 at 10:12pm
      you should be pleased – total stunner – the best one I’ve ever seen”

      “Comment by De Villo Sloan on June 16, 2011 at 9:59pm
      Great concept, amazing materials – a mail-art performance to be remembered in our history”

      OHA! Who would have expected such enthusiasm?

      Like

    1. Nope. Bifidus is from St. Paul in Minnesota and kind of withdraw from that certain mail art platform for family reasons sometime in 2013 I think, while XX Jones lives in Vienna Austria (I think she’s Austrian, writes excellent German too!), and I know that she’d been living quite a while in the States. As far as I can assume she’s married to an US citizen, But that I don’t know for sure, just from reading between the lines from the e mail exchanges we used to have once in a while.

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    1. It’s strange with Bifidus. I think in 2013 he told me that there was an obligation for him to take care of his father and off he was. He didn’t leave the certain platform, but stopped being active. He is such a fine mail artist, had so great ideas, and, most important, HE LIKED ME and shared my enthusiasm for Dieter Roth who he called being not only OFF SCENE but OFF PLANET, and he was right.
      I think no trace of the camenbert is left where it had been buried. That happened almost four years ago. But bringing the dimension of time into art as a processive, active element is just what Herr Roth had intended.

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  2. Excellent! tears of joy to see this “Oh Happy Days”these were! and chuffed to see my Erni’s box manifesto was one of the layers of the package.

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    1. Hi and welcome Helen! A very nice surprise meeting you here. Yes, those were happy and innocent days if I may say so. But nothing lasts forever, does it? When starting this wordpress activity I used to send an e mail to Bifidus each and every time I had received something new in the mail, but, alas, I never got any feedback from him. I wonder how he does theses days.

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