This web site is incomplete and under active construction.

"New Fluxus Symbol Set"
Exhibition at ARTCITE

an artist-run centre for the contemporary arts

109 University Avenue West, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

January 7 - February 5, 2011


Launching the next 50 years of Fluxus!




Introduction to the exhibition

Fluxus is now 50 years old. It has had a long and vigorous run--kept alive by some of the original participants, by art collectors and historians, and by the new blood and work it continues to attract. There are probably more Fluxus artists and creators, more Fluxus work, more collaborative Fluxus projects today than during the original George Maciunas Fluxfest period. Fluxus continues to chafe, however, under a variety of pressures, motivations, and misunderstandings.

One of the benign forces that constrains the continued rebirth and growth of Fluxus is the iconography that has grown up around Fluxus. These icons--mostly black and white graphics and photos--have helped inspire and guide new generations of Fluxus participants--but over time have exerted a subtle restraining influence about what Fluxus can look and feel like. This exhibition and the effort that created it are an attempt to update, refresh, and expand the iconography of Fluxus. And to do so in a playful upside-down-and-backwards Fluxus way: let's make it a game.





Creating the New Fluxus Symbol Set

First I went fishing and playing on Fluxlist Blog looking for simple images (symbols) to use. The poster displayed below documents the sources of the 12 symbols that I arbitrarily extracted/created.

I was much more interested in quickly gathering a diverse set of symbols than in carefully selecting the "best" ones. That's why this New Fluxus Symbol Set is designated 1B--it is likely that an even better set of symbols could be indentified, and when it is it should be designated 1A.

I would hope that you and others will contribute and nominate other new symbols and images to be added to future Fluxus symbol sets. One of the goals of this exhibition is to solicit additional New Fluxus Symbol candidates from gallery visitors.


click for larger image
#1. Graphic on white vinyl. 22.5 x 33 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).






The Fluxus Symbol set was derived from posts to Fluxlist Blog made by the people listed below. Click on the links to view the blog posts that are the nominal sources for these symbols.
Reed Altemus
two symbols
Allen Bukoff
a*   b   c**   d***
Clifford Duffy Hazel
(Michael Leigh)
Ruud Janssen
a --> b
Michael Leigh
WastedPapiers
Allan Revich
  a   b   c
Litsa Spathi/Nobody
a --> b
Crispin Webb Reid Wood
State of Being
*I created this symbol while building on/mashing up previous blog posts by Michael Leigh/Hazel, Reed Altemus and Teresa Bowman.
**Logo I created for Allen Revich's "red circle Fluxus" activity.
***I created this symbol while building on/mashing up previous blog posts by Michael Leigh/Hazel, Reed Altemus, Allan Revich, and Teresa Bowman.


Here we have the 12 images now stripped of their original context and presented in no particular order or arrangement. Offered to you and your brain as is. Play with all or some of them as you will. Create meaning with all or some of them...as you will.

They also play who only stand and watch.


click for a better, working copy of the symbols
#2. Graphic on white vinyl. 16 x 20 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).

The New Fluxus Symbol Set Is An Invitation!

Please treat the New Fluxus Symbol Set as an invitation. It's your invitation to play. Take one or more or all of the symbols and do something or anything with them. Create a collage, Create an object. Burn them. Bury them. Englarge them. Ignore them. Invent a game. Conduct a survey. Whatever you want! Something that is interesting to you. Go ahead. Let your brain start playing!

You can skip the rest of the exhibition and just start playing. Or take a look and view some of the things I created in response to the New Fluxus Symbol Set's invitation.

To view and download your own digital copy of the Fluxus Symbol set, go here.




Some Projects With The New Fluxus Symbol Set

The rest of the exhibition is a collection of more than 20 posters and objects that were created through eight separate projects. These projects were designed to help me play with the New Fluxus Symbols in various ways. These projects--Fluxus investigations and explorations--are presented below:
Phase One
Project A. Branding.
Project B. Relics.
Project C. Rubber stamps
Project D. Bread.
Project E. Clothing.
Project F. Chairs.
Phase Two
Project G. Fluxus Research.
Project H. Play Set.
Ongoing
Project I. Soliciting new symbols.

I believe there is an infinite creative space around the New Fluxus Symbol Set (or any activity), so I really haven't "used up" much territory at all. Just a little preliminary exploring. Maybe this work will encourage you to explore and play too.




Project A. Branding.

Project. Let's use these symbols to create a candidate for a new Fluxus logo. I started with the core "X" of traditional Fluxus logos and decided to keep it as the primary image. Around the time that I was working on this project, a "food fight" (dubbed the "Tomato Wars" by Litsa Spathi) erupted on the Fluxlist Blog. I decided to use the idea of a round red tomato as the basic shape for the logo.

click for larger image
#3. Graphic on white vinyl. 24 x 24 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).

click for larger image
#4. Graphic on white vinyl. 24 x 24 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).
And what's a logo (or a tomato salad) without a little oil and vinegar dressing!?

click for larger image
#5. Photo with graphics on white vinyl. 28.5 x 23 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).



Project B. Relics.

They also serve who only stand and wait.

While working in Mexico I started to become familiar with milagros. I began thinking that the New Fluxus Symbols would be good candidates for creating "Fluxus Milagros." Instead of hanging them on a statue of a traditional religious figure--like Christ--I began searching for a Fluxus-appropriate figure to serve as the grounding for these Milagros. I came across this picture of a chicken standing on a scale. Chickens are "everyday." A chicken standing on a scale felt very Fluxus to me.


click for larger image
#6. Old photo with graphics on white vinyl. 24 x 30 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).
Prototype shrine

click for larger image
#7. Cut wood covered in printed canvas, metal staples. Eye hooks and laminated paper symbols. 5.5 x 6.5 x 11 inches tall.
Shrine for new Fluxus relics

click for larger image and view of back
#8. Hand-carved and painted wood on an old metal scale. Milagros/images painted on metal strips cut from beer cans and nailed to the wooden chicken. Remaining pieces of beer cans used to cover back of chicken. 7 x 10 x 24 inches tall.

Performance
"They also serve who only stand and weight." Allen Bukoff--wearing a chicken mask and standing on bathroom scales--giving a performance at the Artcite opening of New Fluxus Symbol Set, January 7, 2011.



Project C. Rubber stamps.

Project. What's more Fluxus and mail art than rubber stamps? So let's create a set of rubber stamps and see where that takes us.

click for larger image
#9. 5.75 x 8 inches by 3.5 inches tall wooden cigar box containing 14 rubber stamps now affixed to the box with metal screws.

Performance,
video of the performance,
and the artifact created by the performance.
Performance [Warning: incredibly boring...except perhaps to the bored.]
#10. 3:05 video of performance: stamping the rubber stamps of the New Fluxus Symbol Set.
Performance Artifact

click for larger image
#11. Enlarged scan of rubber stamp impressions made during the performance featured in the video. 16 x 20 inch vinyl poster (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).



Project D. Bread.

Project. Food has long been a medium for Fluxus activities. One of the most common, everyday sources of food for humans around the world is bread. I decided to put bread and the New Fluxus Symbol Set together to see where that would take us.

click for larger image
#12. Photo of piece of bread on which New Fluxus Symbol Set images have been rubber stamped. Printed on white vinyl. 20 x 14.75 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).
The symbols made from bread

click for larger image
#13. Photo of symbols created from bread and food coloring printed on white vinyl. 22.5 x 25 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).

The New Fluxus Symbol Set grid created with sealed bread in wooden frame
">
click for larger image
#14. Bread from previous project dried and individually vacuum-sealed in square plastic bags. Metal grommets added to the corners of each bag, then strung up with clear plastic thread to metal eye hooks to create a three-dimensional representation of the New Fluxus Symbol Set grid. Mounted in 29 x 38 inches x 6 inches deep wooden frame.

Maybe next time we'll eat the bread symbols and see what happens when the New Fluxus Symbol Set is injested.



Project E. Clothing.
Project. Early on I took a favorite in-store display graphic I had found at an antique store in Iowa and added the New Fluxus Symbol Set as a border. There was good resonance between the symbols and the hats. That made sense: bowler hats and old Fluxus go together and Joseph Bueys wearing a gray felt hat is one of his iconic images. So I decided to cover a felt hat with cloth versions of the New Fluxus symbols. Along this path I started thinking more broadly about wearing these symbols on other clothing--like the everyday t-shirt.
Framed hat display.

click for larger image
#15. Graphic images on white vinyl. 24 x 24 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).
Symbol hat.

click for larger image
#16. New Fluxus Symbols printed on gray felt squares sewn onto a man's gray felt hat.

Symbols as wearable punk pins.

click for larger image
#17. Black XXL t-shirt on hanger with laminated symbols attached to it with safety pins. Hanger and large push pins.



Project F. Chairs.
Project. A set of wooden folding chairs.
ccccy.

click for larger image
#16. 12 wooden folding chairs with wooden hand-painted symbols ....



Project G. Fluxus Research.

Project. So far, I've just been working with the entire set of New Fluxus Symbols--throwing them up against different things and seeing where that takes me. I decided I need an invitation or activity to help me (and others) focus on the symbols more individually. Choice is important. So is chance.

Invitation: Find your major and minor symbols

Pick two symbols as your personal, special symbols (to work with, to play with, to be mindful of, etc.).
     A. Your major symbol. Choose the one symbol that appeals to you the most.
     B. Your minor symbol. Spin the spinning wheel and let it choose your minor symbol.
     C. Plant the seeds. Plant these symbols deep inside your mind. Let them interact and take you where they will.
Research Station at Artcite Exhibition
To learn more,
please visit the website devoted to this research project.





Project H. Fluxus Play Set.

Project.To me Fluxus has always seemed like an invitation to play...to play in a Fluxus way. In my experience it is easier to get people to engage in creative play if you give them some "props"--some materials to work with. Because I've been creating laminated badges--punk" pins--for years (for rock bands and various Fluxus activities, etc.), these seemed like a natural set of props to me. I'd already made some laminated New Fluxus Symbols for several projects in the New Fluxus Symbol Set series (i.e., Shrine Prototype and t-shirt), and I decided they would make a nice "play set," an invitation, and an easy way for others to play around with the New Fluxus Symbol Set.

click for larger image

click for larger image
#19. A 3 x 4 inch plastic ziplock bag with the following contents:
  • Badges. Each of the twelve symbols printed on paper, cut out, then laminated in plastic. Each badge comes with its own silver safety pin.
  • Card. 2.24 x 3.5 inch card--New Fluxus sumbols printed on front and information on where symbols come from on the back + addresses for two project websites.
  • Cloth. 3.25 x 8.25 inch piece of cotton cloth--instructions and illustrated list of contents printed on one side.
  • Sticks. Twelve round wooden sticks 3.5 inches long.
  • Wires. Two two-foot long pieces of insulated telephone cable wire.
  • Cord. One 36 inch piece of hemp string.

The Fluxus Play Set
The Fluxus Play Set has now been issued in several versions for several different projects. You can view these versions at the Fluxus Play Set webpage.

Everyone receiving a Fluxus Play Set has been invited to share their efforts by uploading photos and documentation to the Fluxus Play Set webpage. Please visit to view these additional New Fluxus Symbol Set projects.




Project I. Collecting more new Fluxus symbols.
Project. xxxxxxe everyday t-shirt.
ccccy.

click for larger image
#16. 12 wooden folding chairs with wooden hand-painted symbols ....



This web site is still under construction. More to come.


This web site is still under construction. More to come.



ARTCITE exhibition of New Fluxus Symbol Set
This web site is incomplete and under active construction.

"New Fluxus Symbol Set"
Exhibition at ARTCITE

an artist-run centre for the contemporary arts

109 University Avenue West, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

January 7 - February 5, 2011


Launching the next 50 years of Fluxus!




Introduction to the exhibition

Fluxus is now 50 years old. It has had a long and vigorous run--kept alive by some of the original participants, by art collectors and historians, and by the new blood and work it continues to attract. There are probably more Fluxus artists and creators, more Fluxus work, more collaborative Fluxus projects today than during the original George Maciunas Fluxfest period. Fluxus continues to chafe, however, under a variety of pressures, motivations, and misunderstandings.

One of the benign forces that constrains the continued rebirth and growth of Fluxus is the iconography that has grown up around Fluxus. These icons--mostly black and white graphics and photos--have helped inspire and guide new generations of Fluxus participants--but over time have exerted a subtle restraining influence about what Fluxus can look and feel like. This exhibition and the effort that created it are an attempt to update, refresh, and expand the iconography of Fluxus. And to do so in a playful upside-down-and-backwards Fluxus way: let's make it a game.





Creating the New Fluxus Symbol Set

First I went fishing and playing on Fluxlist Blog looking for simple images (symbols) to use. The poster displayed below documents the sources of the 12 symbols that I arbitrarily extracted/created.

I was much more interested in quickly gathering a diverse set of symbols than in carefully selecting the "best" ones. That's why this New Fluxus Symbol Set is designated 1B--it is likely that an even better set of symbols could be indentified, and when it is it should be designated 1A.

I would hope that you and others will contribute and nominate other new symbols and images to be added to future Fluxus symbol sets. One of the goals of this exhibition is to solicit additional New Fluxus Symbol candidates from gallery visitors.


click for larger image
#1. Graphic on white vinyl. 22.5 x 33 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).






The Fluxus Symbol set was derived from posts to Fluxlist Blog made by the people listed below. Click on the links to view the blog posts that are the nominal sources for these symbols.
Reed Altemus
two symbols
Allen Bukoff
a*   b   c**   d***
Clifford Duffy Hazel
(Michael Leigh)
Ruud Janssen
a --> b
Michael Leigh
WastedPapiers
Allan Revich
  a   b   c
Litsa Spathi/Nobody
a --> b
Crispin Webb Reid Wood
State of Being
*I created this symbol while building on/mashing up previous blog posts by Michael Leigh/Hazel, Reed Altemus and Teresa Bowman.
**Logo I created for Allen Revich's "red circle Fluxus" activity.
***I created this symbol while building on/mashing up previous blog posts by Michael Leigh/Hazel, Reed Altemus, Allan Revich, and Teresa Bowman.


Here we have the 12 images now stripped of their original context and presented in no particular order or arrangement. Offered to you and your brain as is. Play with all or some of them as you will. Create meaning with all or some of them...as you will.

They also play who only stand and watch.


click for a better, working copy of the symbols
#2. Graphic on white vinyl. 16 x 20 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).

The New Fluxus Symbol Set Is An Invitation!

Please treat the New Fluxus Symbol Set as an invitation. It's your invitation to play. Take one or more or all of the symbols and do something or anything with them. Create a collage, Create an object. Burn them. Bury them. Englarge them. Ignore them. Invent a game. Conduct a survey. Whatever you want! Something that is interesting to you. Go ahead. Let your brain start playing!

You can skip the rest of the exhibition and just start playing. Or take a look and view some of the things I created in response to the New Fluxus Symbol Set's invitation.

To view and download your own digital copy of the Fluxus Symbol set, go here.




Some Projects With The New Fluxus Symbol Set

The rest of the exhibition is a collection of more than 20 posters and objects that were created through eight separate projects. These projects were designed to help me play with the New Fluxus Symbols in various ways. These projects--Fluxus investigations and explorations--are presented below:
Phase One
Project A. Branding.
Project B. Relics.
Project C. Rubber stamps
Project D. Bread.
Project E. Clothing.
Project F. Chairs.
Phase Two
Project G. Fluxus Research.
Project H. Play Set.
I believe there is an infinite creative space around the New Fluxus Symbol Set (or any activity), so I really haven't "used up" much territory at all. Just a little preliminary exploring. Maybe this work will encourage you to explore and play too.



Project A. Branding.

Project. Let's use these symbols to create a candidate for a new Fluxus logo. I started with the core "X" of traditional Fluxus logos and decided to keep it as the primary image. Around the time that I was working on this project, a "food fight" (dubbed the "Tomato Wars" by Litsa Spathi) erupted on the Fluxlist Blog. I decided to use the idea of a round red tomato as the basic shape for the logo.

click for larger image
#3. Graphic on white vinyl. 24 x 24 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).

click for larger image
#4. Graphic on white vinyl. 24 x 24 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).
And what's a logo (or a tomato salad) without a little oil and vinegar dressing!?

click for larger image
#5. Photo with graphics on white vinyl. 28.5 x 23 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).



Project B. Relics.

They also serve who only stand and wait.

While working in Mexico I started to become familiar with milagros. I began thinking that the New Fluxus Symbols would be good candidates for creating "Fluxus Milagros." Instead of hanging them on a statue of a traditional religious figure--like Christ--I began searching for a Fluxus-appropriate figure to serve as the grounding for these Milagros. I came across this picture of a chicken standing on a scale. Chickens are "everyday." A chicken standing on a scale felt very Fluxus to me.


click for larger image
#6. Old photo with graphics on white vinyl. 24 x 30 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).
Prototype shrine

click for larger image
#7. Cut wood covered in printed canvas, metal staples. Eye hooks and laminated paper symbols. 5.5 x 6.5 x 11 inches tall.
Shrine for new Fluxus relics

click for larger image and view of back
#8. Hand-carved and painted wood on an old metal scale. Milagros/images painted on metal strips cut from beer cans and nailed to the wooden chicken. Remaining pieces of beer cans used to cover back of chicken. 7 x 10 x 24 inches tall.

Performance
"They also serve who only stand and weight." Allen Bukoff--wearing a chicken mask and standing on bathroom scales--giving a performance at the Artcite opening of New Fluxus Symbol Set, January 7, 2011.



Project C. Rubber stamps.

Project. What's more Fluxus and mail art than rubber stamps? So let's create a set of rubber stamps and see where that takes us.

click for larger image
#9. 5.75 x 8 inches by 3.5 inches tall wooden cigar box containing 14 rubber stamps now affixed to the box with metal screws.

Performance,
video of the performance,
and the artifact created by the performance.
Performance [Warning: incredibly boring...except perhaps to the bored.]
#10. 3:05 video of performance: stamping the rubber stamps of the New Fluxus Symbol Set.
Performance Artifact

click for larger image
#11. Enlarged scan of rubber stamp impressions made during the performance featured in the video. 16 x 20 inch vinyl poster (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).



Project D. Bread.

Project. Food has long been a medium for Fluxus activities. One of the most common, everyday sources of food for humans around the world is bread. I decided to put bread and the New Fluxus Symbol Set together to see where that would take us.

click for larger image
#12. Photo of piece of bread on which New Fluxus Symbol Set images have been rubber stamped. Printed on white vinyl. 20 x 14.75 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).
The symbols made from bread

click for larger image
#13. Photo of symbols created from bread and food coloring printed on white vinyl. 22.5 x 25 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).

The New Fluxus Symbol Set grid created with sealed bread in wooden frame
">
click for larger image
#14. Bread from previous project dried and individually vacuum-sealed in square plastic bags. Metal grommets added to the corners of each bag, then strung up with clear plastic thread to metal eye hooks to create a three-dimensional representation of the New Fluxus Symbol Set grid. Mounted in 29 x 38 inches x 6 inches deep wooden frame.

Maybe next time we'll eat the bread symbols and see what happens when the New Fluxus Symbol Set is injested.



Project E. Clothing.
Project. Early on I took a favorite in-store display graphic I had found at an antique store in Iowa and added the New Fluxus Symbol Set as a border. There was good resonance between the symbols and the hats. That made sense: bowler hats and old Fluxus go together and Joseph Bueys wearing a gray felt hat is one of his iconic images. So I decided to cover a felt hat with cloth versions of the New Fluxus symbols. Along this path I started thinking more broadly about wearing these symbols on other clothing--like the everyday t-shirt.
Framed hat display.

click for larger image
#15. Graphic images on white vinyl. 24 x 24 inches (exhibition poster has a metal grommet in each corner).
Symbol hat.

click for larger image
#16. New Fluxus Symbols printed on gray felt squares sewn onto a man's gray felt hat.

Symbols as wearable punk pins.

click for larger image
#17. Black XXL t-shirt on hanger with laminated symbols attached to it with safety pins. Hanger and large push pins.



Project F. Fluxus Research.

Project. So far, I've just been working with the entire set of New Fluxus Symbols--throwing them up against different things and seeing where that takes me. I decided I need an invitation or activity to help me (and others) focus on the symbols more individually. Choice is important. So is chance.

Invitation: Find your major and minor symbols

Pick two symbols as your personal, special symbols (to work with, to play with, to be mindful of, etc.).
     A. Your major symbol. Choose the one symbol that appeals to you the most.
     B. Your minor symbol. Spin the spinning wheel and let it choose your minor symbol.
     C. Plant the seeds. Plant these symbols deep inside your mind. Let them interact and take you where they will.
Research Station at Artcite Exhibition
To learn more,
please visit the website devoted to this research project.





Project G. Fluxus Play Set.

Project.To me Fluxus has always seemed like an invitation to play...to play in a Fluxus way. In my experience it is easier to get people to engage in creative play if you give them some "props"--some materials to work with. Because I've been creating laminated badges--punk pins--for years (for rock bands and various Fluxus activities, etc.), these seemed like a natural set of props to me. I'd already made some laminated New Fluxus Symbols for several projects in the New Fluxus Symbol Set series (i.e., Shrine Prototype and t-shirt), and I decided they would make a nice "play set," an invitation, and an easy way for others to play around with the New Fluxus Symbol Set.

click for larger image

click for larger image
#19. A 3 x 4 inch plastic ziplock bag with the following contents:
  • Badges. Each of the twelve symbols printed on paper, cut out, then laminated in plastic. Each badge comes with its own silver safety pin.
  • Card. 2.24 x 3.5 inch card--New Fluxus sumbols printed on front and information on where symbols come from on the back + addresses for two project websites.
  • Cloth. 3.25 x 8.25 inch piece of cotton cloth--instructions and illustrated list of contents printed on one side.
  • Sticks. Twelve round wooden sticks 3.5 inches long.
  • Wires. Two two-foot long pieces of insulated telephone cable wire.
  • Cord. One 36 inch piece of hemp string.

The Fluxus Play Set
The Fluxus Play Set has now been issued in several versions for several different projects. You can view these versions at the Fluxus Play Set webpage.

Everyone receiving a Fluxus Play Set has been invited to share their efforts by uploading photos and documentation to the Fluxus Play Set webpage. Please visit to view these additional New Fluxus Symbol Set projects.




This web site is still under construction. More to come.


This web site is still under construction. More to come.