Sunday, July 03, 2011



This is what Fluxus is today. It is pretty much the same as what Fluxus was, but the old actors have been replaced by new ones. And behind our generation Fluxus artists there is already a new generation ready to displace us. We welcome them.


Fluxus today is built on the solid foundations of Fluxus yesterday. The artists may be new, but the work they are making is as much a part of Fluxus tradition as the work that came before.

Here is what Ken Friedman wrote in 2002. It was first published in 1989 by the Emily Harvey Gallery as "Fluxus and Company".

"...Emmett Williams once wrote, "Fluxus is what Fluxus does - but no one knows whodunit." This concise description makes two radical statements. The statement that no one knows "who done" Fluxus rejects the idea of Fluxus as a specific group of people. It identifies Fluxus with a frame of action and defines Fluxus as a cumulative, aggregate of Fluxus activities over the past forty years or so. While Emmett is famous for playful conundrums, he may not agree with this reading of his text. Dick Higgins did.

Dick explicitly rejected a notion that limited Fluxus to a specific group of people who came together at a specific time and place. Dick wrote, "Fluxus is not a moment in history, or an art movement. Fluxus is a way of doing things, a tradition, and a way of life and death."

For Dick, for George Maciunas, and for me, Fluxus is more valuable as an idea and a potential for social change than as a specific group of people or a collection of objects."

We, the Fluxus artists of the 21st century have taken these words to heart. We are Fluxus and we are making Fluxus work. Friedman, building on previous work by Dick Higgins, described Fluxus as a "laboratory characterized by twelve ideas".

1. globalism,
2. the unity of art and life,
3. intermedia,
4. experimentalism,
5. chance,
6. playfulness,
7. simplicity,
8. implicativeness,
9. exemplativism,
10. specificity,
11. presence in time, and
12. musicality

We live and work under the umbrella of these twelve ideas.


Ideas from Ken Friedman, Owen Smith, George Maciunas, and Dick Higgins along with direct observation of Fluxus work past and present, can be synthesized to create an even more concise set of Four Fluxus Principles:

1. Fluxus is an attitude. It is not a movement or a style.
2. Fluxus is intermedia. Fluxus creators like to see what happens when different media intersect. They use found and everyday objects, sounds, images, and texts to create new combinations of objects, sounds, images, and texts.
3. Fluxus works are simple. The art is small, the texts are short, and the performances are brief.
4. Fluxus should be fun. Humor has always been an important element in Fluxus.

As with Friedman's 12 ideas, these four principles are flexible guidelines, not commandments carved in stone. They are meant to help people understand and work with Fluxus. Not to confine them or restrain their creativity.

We, the Fluxus artists of the 21st century, know that we owe George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Ken Friedman, and all of the original Fluxus artists a debt of gratitude for building the ship that we are now sailing on. Anyone, anywhere, is welcome aboard. Just remember that the ship has already started to sail.

Signed on the 19th of May in 2011 by,

Allan Revich, Cecil Touchon, Keith Buchholz, Bibiana Padilla Maltos, ejva/nsva, Mary Campbell, Ed Varney, Melissa McCarthy, Carol Starr, Ginny Lloyd, John M. Bennett, Séamas Cain, Litsa Spathi/Nobody, Ann Klefstad, Caterina Davinio, Ruud Janssen, Christopher Hoddinott, Roger Stevens


Irwin Green said...

Anyone got any links to the artist Vivi Enkyo?
I saw her piece entitled "As your eyes survey me", (1981) at the last Whitney Biennale. its basically a massive house of cards built up over the duration of the show by an assistant.. kind of reminded me of Takako Saito's "Wine Chess"... I cant find anything of hers online but would love to learn more!

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