"New Fluxus Symbol Set"
Launching the next 50 years of Fluxus!



an artist-run centre for the contemporary arts
109 University Avenue West, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
January 7 - February 5, 2011

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.

The New Fluxus Symbol Set
The New Fluxus Symbol Set Is An Invitation!

It's an 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. Alter them. Ignore them. Create 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 continue scrolling and see some of the things that came out of our play.

The Origins of the New Fluxus Symbols
I went to Fluxlist Blog and looked for simple images or symbols that participants had used in their blog posts. The annotated graphic displayed below documents each of the blog posts from which the 12 symbols were chosen.

My symbol selection criteria was pretty arbitrary and subjective. I looked for simple graphics or symbols that appealed to me. I also wanted the set of symbols to be diverse. I decided to designate this the New Fluxus Symbol Set 1B to suggest that this was one of many other possible sets of Fluxus symbols. Please feel free to identify and nominate other possible Fluxus symbols.

You can explore the symbol origins either by viewing a larger, readable version of the graphic above or by exploring a clickable map of the symbol set.
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
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.

Some of Our Projects
Using the New Fluxus Symbol Set
The Arcite exhibition was a collection of more than 20 posters and objects that we had created in eight different projects. These projects helped us play with the New Fluxus Symbols in various ways. These projects -- Fluxus investigations and explorations -- are listed below and presented in order as you scroll down the rest of the page.

Phase One -- click a link below to jump to that project
Project A   Branding
Project B   Relics
Project C   Rubber Stamps
Project D   Bread
Project E   Clothing
Project F   Chairs

Phase Two -- activities in and around the exhibition
Project G   Fluxus Research
Project H   Fluxus Symbol Play Set

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 use that as the primary design shape. This is what I came up with.

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

Project. Around the time that I was working on creating the New Fluxus Symbol Set "X", a "food fight" (dubbed the "Tomato Wars" by Litsa Spathi) erupted on the Fluxlist Blog. From this I got the idea of putting my Fluxus Symbol Set "X" in a round red tomato shape and christening that as being another project logo. Many round metal buttons of this logo were made and given away as part of the exhibition celebration.

click for photo of poster
#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 photo of poster
#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

#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 photo of both front and 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.

"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.

Rubber stamps and Fluxus have always been close friends.
Let's turn our symbols into rubber stamps and see where that goes.

click for larger photo
#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.

Rubber Stamp Performance Video

#10. 3:05 video of performance: Stamping out the New Fluxus Symbol Set.

Artifact of the Performance

click for image of poster

#11. 16 x 20 inch vinyl poster (exhibition poster has a metal
grommet in each corner).

Exhibition Computer Display for Viewing the Video

click for larger photo of display stand

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.

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.