lørdag den 15. december 2012


And here it is: the Lunatic catalogue. Few have it, many want it. A solid brick of a book, yet flexible and fluxable. A luxury edition, bound with the same string that is used to hang up the cards in the exhibition. In a matter of minutes, you can take the string out, rearrange the pages after your own wishes and bind the book again. And that is only the shape of it. The contents are even better. 1,4 kilogrammes of, in Emmett Williams's phrase, Fluxus facts and fictions. Lots of new information, enough detail to satisfy even the most devoted Fluxus nerd. Get it while it is hot!

torsdag den 22. november 2012


I once met an artist who put his entire archive in pickle jars and sold it on the condition that if the buyer decided to open them, he or she would destroy the documents, memorise their contents and pass them on orally. During the last two years, while I was busy collecting eye witness statements for the Lunatic exhibition, it struck me that with Fluxus, the opposite is the case. There turned out to be a surprisingly large number of people still around in Denmark who had witnessed Fluxus events and had a large stock of Fluxus anecdotes they passed around to their friends or acquaintances, but that had never been written down. Composers such as Ib Nørholm, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Per Nørgaard, Fuzzy and Axel Borup Jørgensen were involved in the organization of Fluxus concerts, wrote about them or simply witnessed them, not because they felt in any way connected to Fluxus, but simply because they thought it was a phenomenon that deserved attention.

Today, on the 50th anniversary of the first official meeting between Fluxus and Denmark, I would like to make a case for the importance of making sure that these people’s memories – their tall stories and amusing anecdotes – can continue to circulate. Effectively, what they have done is to keep Fluxus alive for 50 years. I feel especially privileged to have had the possibility of speaking to Axel Borup-Jørgensen, who was seriously ill and recently passed away, aged 88. His memories of the first-ever Fluxus festival on Danish soil, a six day event that was held at Nikolaj Church between 23 and 28 November 1962, were unbelievably vivid and gave a very strong impression, not only of the historical event, but also, and perhaps even more so, of the way such an event can stay with a person for the rest of a lifetime. It is important that an effort is made to ensure that these events, and especially the personal stories about them, can continue to circulate even when the eyewitnesses to which they attach themselves, are no longer with us.

While working on the Lunatic project, I have thought a lot about the difference between research and scholarship. At its most basic, research must be the retrieval of evidence, pure and simple. It is important work, but it is not scholarship. An essential prerequisite for it, but nothing more. Scholarship presupposes a contextualization of the material collected by means of research, a qualified effort to make it speak. It is tempting to conclude that research without scholarship is useless. However, precisely these stories, their living character, their obvious subjectivity, can make me consider the merits of the opposite as well. I could also be persuaded to say that the personal quirks these stories display and their stubborn refusal to come together in a unified narrative have merits entirely their own.  It is important to write them down, where they can join other types of evidence to create a coherent account of the events in hand, but it is equally important that they can circulate. Why? Because they do not draw the straight line of a scholarly argument but indicate a vague field within which everyone can find a pattern for themselves. They can promote living history.

Now I should note straight away that they can only do so if all the available accounts are granted the same status. As soon as a dominant account emerges, the others will group themselves around it in difference or conformity. This goes for the oral accounts of privileged individuals such as the performers and artists involved, but also for apparently solid documents such as photographs and film and audio recordings. Like oral accounts, the latter also contain elements of selection and translation. This said, I would nevertheless like to end this special 50th anniversary blog entry with a double call: for everyone to continue to tell stories about Fluxus events and for people who possess such stories to come forward and share them with all the rest of us. Both are necessary if we are to preserve Fluxus as a living phenomenon and  something to have a stake in.

mandag den 12. november 2012


The following is an English translation of a short article of mine that appeared in the Danish newspaper Politiken on Saturday 10 November. Currently, Politiken has a series on the subject of “nothing”. Readers can contribute with comments or photographs and have done so industriously. Of course my contribution takes Fluxus as its point of departure. Here it is:


“It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine an exploration of the concept of Nothing without Fluxus. Not only has Fluxus had intimate dealings with Nothing during the 50 years of its existence, it even turns into Nothing itself as soon as one tries to tie it down. The experts still do not agree on whether Fluxus was a movement or a network. One thing we do know about it is that the name was invented by George Maciunas, who between 1962 and his death in 1978 organised many Fluxus concerts and published many Fluxus editions. However, history also shows that Fluxus can manage just fine without him. Many of the artists involved still create works in the no-man’s land between music, visual art, poetry et cetera in a true Fluxus spirit.

In connection with Fluxus, ”Nothing” should be understood in at least two ways, on the one hand as a Zen-inspired, philosophical, meditative flirt with Nothing and on the other as an art rebellion that would prefer to hurl Nothing into the face of the audience. The difference between the two can be hard to spot. French Fluxus artist Ben Vautier, for example, specialized in signing everything and therefore signed Nothing as well. Philosophical or anti-artistic? Even his own mother pointed out in connection with the signed Nothing that Nothing does not exists. Vautier embraced this maternal correction and wrote on a box containing Nothing: “This Box Contains Something” in a manner that can be understood as both the one and the other.

Maciunas’ plan to market Vautier’s box as a ”Flux Nothing Box” was never realised, but a Fluxus multiple that comes close in spirit is Vautier’s Flux Holes. The holes, too, take one of the artist’s own objects as their point of departure, in this case Trou portatif (”portable hole”, 1964), a box with a handle and holes in the sides. The Fluxus edition took the shape of small plastic boxes containing objects with holes in, cards with holes in or photographs of objects with holes in. The label showed bare ladies’ buttocks with the words “Fluxholes Gathered by Ben Vautier” right where the hole is or etchings of an anal examination. Vautier: “No comment. I just like holes, maybe because they have something to do with non-art”.

Fluxus’ first visit to Denmark in November 1962, with a festival consisting of six concerts, resulted in a scandal. Not because of the substance of the performances, but because of a perceived lack of same. Robert Naur, Politiken’s music critic at the time, wrote that Fluxus “wanted nothing, had nothing to contribute with and delivered nothing except an insistent, slow display of absolute impotence”. How? Danish author Uffe Harder highlighted in Dansk musiktidsskrift (”Danish Music Magazine”) a piece that had been performed during the fourth of the six concerts, Alison Knowles’s Proposition. What Knowles proposes is to “make a salad”, and that is exactly what she did, persistently and for a long time. Harder left the performance after twenty minutes, outraged by the implicit “demand to contemplate this nothing”, as he wrote. The problem was not that there was nothing there, but that he was forced to witness it. Vautier’s mother was right: Nothing does not exist. There is always a poor soul there to experience it.

In connection with the same Nothing, Harder also criticised Fluxus’ ”drive towards destruction, monotony and a point zero”. He did not understand Nothing to mean “no thing”, but the absence of several very specific things: of art, of development, of respect for the spectators’ busy lives. The Nothing that Harder experienced during the Fluxus festival consisted of the absence of several specific things he expected to experience, but in a provocative or thought-provoking manner felt robbed of. Like Vautier’s objects, Fluxus’ performances of Nothing were – and are – boxes that contain Something, namely the power to provoke and frustrate. And like Vautier we ought to say “No comment” if we want to hang on to Nothing, because as soon as we comment on it, Nothing changes into Certain Things and their absence.”

torsdag den 1. november 2012


And now things get serious. After all those months, no, years, our interactive digital Fluxus extravaganza comes to Copenhagen. The official opening takes place tomorrow at 5 pm at Kunsthallen Nikolaj. The title of the exhibition: "Die Irren sind los!... europæiske Fluxusfestivaler, 1962-1978". Everybody is welcome. The picture in the corner is the invitation, but none is needed to join in the festivities, which indeed I hope you, reader, will. If you cannot make it, the exhibition is on until 25 November, so there is still time to see it. As George Maciunas would have said: "Come one! Come all! Hurry! Hurry!"

onsdag den 31. oktober 2012


Tonight and tomorrow night, 31 October and 1 November 2012, the Wundergrund festival in Copenhagen is devoted to Fluxus. Tonight, composer Rasmus Zwicki presents two works devoted to Henning Christiansen and sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard presents a performence in the spirit of the ones he used to do together with HC. Tomorrow, Wundergrund gives the floor to, first, Reinhold Friedl, AKA Horst Possling, and afterwards to a host of composers and musicians and the listeners themselves, who will get the possibility to try all sorts of Fluxus works themselves. The place of action is Byens Lys at Christiania and a ticket costs a mere 50 Danish crowns. For further information, see the festival homepage: http://wundergrund.dk/program/


Yesterday, 30 October 2012, I participated in a panel discussion on Danish radio about the 50th anniversary of Fluxus and the two celebrations in Copenhagen in November this year, SNYK's Wundergrund festival and our own Lunatic archive at Kunsthallen Nikolaj. The panel discussion, with Thorbjørn Tønder Hansen of SNYK and composer Rasmus Zwicki, took place in the programme RomerRiget, hosted by Knud Romer. Here is a link, for those of you who speak Danish or enjoy hearing people speak as if they are permanently about to throw up: http://arkiv.radio24syv.dk/video/7244891/romerriget-uge-44-2012-1.

fredag den 5. oktober 2012


One of American composer La Monte Young’s better known 1960 compositions is no. 7, which consists of a B and an F# - a perfect fifth – and the instruction “to be held for a long time”. On a piano, you would do this by holding the sustain pedal down. During a Fluxus festival in Copenhagen in November 1962, however, the piece was performed on a harmonium. You would expect that it was a church organ, because the festival took place in Saint Nicholas Church, and some stories do replace the harmonium with an organ, but I am pretty sure that it was a harmonium. Arthur Køpcke decorated it with paper, old junk, a salt shaker and a pepper pot and some orange juice cartons especially for the occasion – and several eyewitnesses have described for me the majestic sight of Dick Higgins, tall and broad, pedaling away at the instrument and holding the tone, loud and clear, for something approaching 45 minutes. Both the sight and the sound must have been much more impressive than any piano rendition.
The performance ought to have been a perfect demonstration of Young’s wish to “get inside sound” – but it had exactly the opposite effect. Instead of drawing people in, it forced people out. The audience listened to the chord for some five or ten minutes. Then they started speaking to their neighbours and others around them, and finally, people started to leave the church and continued their conversations at a nearby hot dog stand instead. Through the open doors of the church, they could still hear the sound. A comparison with Satie’s Musique d’ameublement seems obvious here. The audience was supposed to talk while the five pieces it consists of were played, but during the first performance, the audience famously sat and listened intently until Satie climbed on stage and explained to them what they were supposed to do. With La Monte Young’s fifth, the exact opposite happened: people were supposed to listen, but they talked and walked around and away instead.
Why the difference? One could argue that the Satie work, despite its blandness, contained the minimum amount of elements necessary for an audience to recognize it as a piece of music and that the Young work did not. However, one could also argue that the occasion made a difference. Here, I make use of the system of three types or degrees of boredom that German philosopher Martin Heidegger proposes in a lecture series from 1929/1930 that he published under the title The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: “becoming bored by something”, “being bored with something” and “profound boredom”. We can disregard profound boredom here, but the other two are extremely relevant. Heidegger explains his first degree of boredom by means of the example of having to wait at a railway station and the second by that of attending a party. The difference is that the first type of boredom is defined first and foremost by all the things one does to drive boredom away, while the second takes place within a time span and a context where there is a place for it and is therefore not recognized as such until afterwards. Young’s piece invited boredom of the first degree, Satie’s of the second.
One can speculate whether Satie, although controversial, bore enough resemblance to a respectable composer– whether his premieres bore enough resemblance to respectable musical performances – for an audience to treat him and them according to the appropriate conventions. And one can speculate whether Fluxus and the Fluxus Festival in Copenhagen, although supported by the local branch of the ISCM, did not. But then, the association with the composers in DUT, as it was called, Det unge tonekunstnerselskab, did something else. At least one of the people I spoke to described the hubbub of the crowd as a piece in itself. Young’s piece may have been impossible to digest as a musical performance, but the audience’s efforts to drive the boredom caused by it away, could then be consumed as a performance instead. All that happened was that the focus moved from the cause of the boredom to the indices of its presence.

torsdag den 4. oktober 2012


Of course we were not the only ones to think that the 50th anniversary of Fluxus needed to be celebrated. There have been dozens of celebrations and there will be dozens more. Here is a pick.
Several museums in the US have cheated and started the celebrations a year early. The Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, New Jersey, for example, could not wait to celebrate the role that Rutgers College in New Brunswick has played in the history for Fluxus and opened its exhibition “at/around/beyond: Fluxus at Rutgers” already in September last year (on display until April this year). MoMA was early as well with its exhibition “Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions 1962-1978” (September 2011 –January 2012). And the University of Michigan Museum of Art had a show called “Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life” in February-May this year.
No doubt the largest event, however, is “Fluxus 50 – 1962-2012” in the city of Wiesbaden. Wiesbaden is where it all began (sort of), so it is only fair that the city makes an extra effort. The festival comprises a series of exhibitions, amongst them “Fluxus at 50” and shows of work by Benjamin Patterson and Joe Jones at the Museum Wiesbaden,  a performance program and a concert and performance series called “Festspiele neuester Musik” (after the Fluxus internationale Festspiele neuester Musik in Wiesbaden in 1962). In connection with the festival in Wiesbaden, m.a.x.museo in Chiasso, Switzerland, organised an exhibition called “Fluxus, a Creative Revolution, 1962-2012” (April-July this year). In Karlsruhe, meanwhile, the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien organised a concert by Patterson and Die Maulwerker on 28 April, and for those who missed Die Maulwerker there, there was a second chance to witness their efforts at the Museum Fluxus+ at Potsdam in connection with the “Fluxus Potsdam 2012” program, which also comprised lectures and film screenings.
Travelling south to Italy, the Fondazione Prada in Milan organised a programme called “Some Little Fluxus Events and Fluxus concerts” during the first week of September, as part of the exhibition “The Small Utopia”. Fluxus was given the honour or the title of “smallest of the small utopias of the 20th century”.  France has celebrated and celebrates Fluxus with a whole host of exhibitions. On 27 October, the Musée d’art moderne in Saint-Etienne opens the exhibition “Fiat Flux: The Nebulous Fluxus, 1962-1978”. Ben Vautier has a solo exhibition at the Villa Arson in Nice (July-October). He is also busy transforming the Musée de l’objet in Blois into the Fondation de la doute. The opening exhibition, in October this year, presents a selection from the collection of Gino di Maggio.
The Serpentine Gallery in London has celebrated Fluxus with a show of works by Yoko Ono called “To the Light (June-September) Ono is also the artist that is chosen to represent Fluxus in the Slovenian town of Maribor, Europe’s Capital of Culture for this year.  And this is only a small pick. But guess who comes up first when you google “Fluxus 2012”? Who else but our very own Lunatics!

onsdag den 3. oktober 2012


Fluxus will forever be associated with the destruction of pianos. Already during the first-ever Fluxus festival, the Fluxus internationale Festspiele neuester Musik in Wiesbaden in September 1962, a piano was smashed to pieces, and during the 50 year long history of Fluxus, many more have suffered the same fate.
There are other Fluxus pieces that ask for terminal damage to be done to a piano, but in Wiesbaden, the occasion was a performance of Philip Corner’s “Piano Activities”. Photographs of it appeared in countless newspapers in Germany and other European countries, and it even featured on German television. The item starts with a shot of the performers approaching a concert piano, Dick Higgins carrying a kettle and Emmett Williams a brick. Next, the camera follows Williams as he climbs up on the dais (the performance took place in a lecture theatre), straightens his glasses and grasps his brick in both hands. Before he has a chance to throw or drop it, however, the camera shifts to the other performers as they are at work on the piano, Benjamin Patterson hitting it with a hammer, Higgins rubbing the strings with his kettle, a third performer dusting it with a broom, et cetera. Then, it zooms in on the keyboard as a hammer crushes one key after another.  This shot is followed by images of thoughtful and laughing spectators, and the scene ends with the performers solemnly carrying the remains of the piano out through the emergency exit.
To underline the violent nature of the footage, it is accompanied by a voice reading the first and third stanza of a poem by the German poet and cartoonist Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908) called “Gemartert” (“martyred”, first published in 1904). The poem describes the rough treatment a piano receives at the hands of a virtuoso pianist. “Ein gutes Tier/Ist das Klavier,/Still, friedlich und bescheiden,/Und muss dabei/Doch vielerlei/Erdulden und erleiden“, reads the first stanza, and the third: “Und rasend wild,/Das Herz erfüllt/Von mörderlicher Freude,/Durchwühlt er dann,/Soweit er kann,/Des Opfers Eingeweide.“  Roughly translated, the verses say: „A good animal is the piano, quiet, peaceful and modest, and as such it has to tolerate and suffer a lot. (…) And frantic and wild, his heart filled with murderous joy, he rummages through his victim’s innards as far as he can reach“. In combination, the text and the images leave no doubt as to the violent nature of the piece.
The message came across. Just consider the following passage from a text called “My Son” by George Maciunas’s mother, Leokadija Maciunas: “The evening [of the broadcast] arrived and I, fortunately, didn’t see the program (we didn’t have a television.) The next day I met the former landlady of our hotel on the street and I was grieved by her sympathy as if some kind of terrible grief had come to me. They had seen the previous evening’s program and had been horrified. It showed how several young people, including my son, had destroyed a piano with hammers and axes. Even if the instrument was old and useless, it was noble, someone had once played on it, had evoked beautiful sounds, it had served talented hands which had given the public joy and rapture. It was painful and terrible to watch how the chips flew, to hear the complaining twanging of the severed strings. People couldn’t hold back their tears seeing such a shameful and tormenting end to the instrument. We don’t know what to do with old useless instruments, we don’t see this cruel treatment of them, and so this grief and sentiment is understandable. These people felt sorry for me, sympathizing and understanding how a mother’s heart would ache seeing what her son was doing.” (You can read the entire text on http://georgemaciunas.com/?page_id=1310)
Maciunas himself, however, had a different explanation. In a letter to La Monte Young, dateable to October 1962, now at the Getty Research Center, George Maciunas wrote: “Then on the end we did Corners piano activities not according to his instructions since we systematically destroyed a piano which I bought for $5 and had to have it all cut up to throw away, otherwise we would have to pay movers, a very practical composition, but German sentiments about this ‘instrument’ of Chopin were hurt and they made a row about it.” According to Maciunas, what appeared to be violence was actually a money saving device.
The score of Corner’s “Piano Activities” has long been lost, but it is now a part of the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It consists of three typewritten pages, describing a “piece for many pianists”. The musicians are instructed to examine their collective “potential for creating form” and to exercise their “awareness of scope and subtlety” – the piece outlines a kind of collective learning process. In the process, all the parts of the piano are manipulated by all sorts of means, both gentle and rough. While doing so, the performers have to be both restrained and rough, inactive and active, extreme and moderate, et cetera. The signature use of opposites is echoed in the development of the learning process as well, because the performers have to work towards the development of “a complete system of design and relationship”, but towards the removal of formality as well. The crux is to be found in a parenthesis: “(comprehending the full range of possibilities)”.
Here, it is useful to consider the footage that was shown on German television once again. It shows the keys of the piano being destroyed, but its inside being dusted as well, a stone being dropped on it but its strings being rubbed as well. All sorts of contrary actions were performed. It seems that the performers stayed closer to Corner’s instructions as Maciunas claimed. It may not have been a perfect performance of the piece, but there was at least some exploring of the range of possibilities offered by the general setting. The violence of the piece rests in its representation, by the press and by Maciunas.  That Maciunas should court violence in this manner should come as no surprise: only a month earlier, he had sung the praise of a kick to the underside of a piano as an ideal way to demonstrate its physical properties, and he generally seems to have dreamt of Fluxus as a new incarnation of the revolutionary spirit of the pre-war avant-garde. That the press should pick up on this is equally unsurprising. What does come as a surprise is, how effective their representation of the piece still is. Only after reading Corner’s score is it possible to see the gentle actions as well as the violent ones and to spot the importance of their juxtaposition.

tirsdag den 2. oktober 2012


Just over a month until the Lunatic Fluxus archive hits Copenhagen. That also means that we only have to wait for the catalogue for another 30 days or so, and that is good news. Our catalogue will be a welcome addition to the collection of every Fluxus enthusiast. Let me try to explain why.
To begin with, it documents a long list of (European) Fluxus events that have until now not received particularly much attention. After all, if we mean what we say when we underline the international character of Fluxus, there is really no reason why we should limit ourselves to events in Germany, France and England. But the verb “to document” is important as well: we, the contributors to the catalogue, have generously agreed to list all the documentation we know of and to reproduce a fair chunk of it. This makes the catalogue a massive collection – over 600 pages – of primary material that can freely be used by others and that will make it possible for the events we describe to find a place amongst those other, much better documented festivals and concerts.
But there is more. Every event is described in as much detail as is possible with the material we have, but we make virtually no attempt to link them. This means that the reader is free to make his/her own connections and to impose his/her own order on the material, an approach that suits the nomadic character of Fluxus much more than the traditional scholarly one in which the authors with a great show of authority tell their readers what to think. Despite the amazing work done by George Maciunas, the history of Fluxus is very much a concatenation of incidents. The best way to understand it is by trying to bring your face right up close and follow all the small moves made by all the various actors – much better, in any case, than retreating to the distance and trying to discern a general line of development. This is quite a claim to make, but I’m sure that I’ll get the opportunity to explain myself in one of the daily blog entries that I hope to write from now on.
Finally, in focusing on the single events, the catalogue also steers away from the game of “Who’s Fluxus? Who’s Not! Why” that is all too often played. It is not difficult to see why it is played, and I think most people will also agree that it is necessary, but I still think it is a redeeming feature of the catalogue that it does not discern between Fluxus artists and all the others. It simply mentions everyone involved without applying a priori selection criteria – and therewith without trying to locate Fluxus in the bodies and minds of those involved. Just as it focuses on the single event, it also focuses on the single actor and the single act. This type of atomisation could be considered problematic, but at least it resists any tendencies towards (over-)simplification and any urge to slip into old modernist ideas about the artist as genius. Fluxus was – and is – well beyond that.
So let’s count the days. That catalogue ought to be the pride and joy of every self-respecting Fluxus devotee.

mandag den 1. oktober 2012


By an amazing stroke of luck, the centennial for John Cage and the semicentennial for Fluxus coincide. And what is even more lucky is that Cage is now an org. This means that one only has to visit his homepage in order to get an overview of all the activities that are organised around the globe in connection with his 100th birthday. In fact, our very own digital interactive Fluxus extravaganza, "Die Irren sind los"/"The Lunatics ar on the Loose" is one of them. The version of the show that was on view at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in July and August this year, was presented within the framework of a programme called "A Year from Monday. 365 Tage Cage".

It is such an amazing stroke of luck, such an amazing coincidence, because Fluxus and Cage are so intimately connected. If you listen to some of the people from the inner core of Fluxus, Cage was virtually the only source of inspiration, perhaps aided somewhat by Marcel Duchamp. Of course, entirely in the spirit of Fluxus, others make equally vociferous attempts to downplay or even deny Cage's role. So what is it with Fluxus and Cage? The standard story always mentions the course on experimental composition and notation that Cage taught at the New School for Social Research in New York in 1958-1959. Several of the absolutely central American Fluxus associates - George Brecht, Dick Higgins - participated, and the course undeniably had a profound effect on them. However, to claim that they could not have achieved what they have achieved without Cage, would be to underestimate these artists' own considerable genius. Moreover, it should be remembered that Fluxus had its roots in other art forms than music. Other core members had a background in poetry, theatre or the visual arts, and while they were aware of Cage and appreciated his work, they got their inspiration from other places as well.

However, the most important thing to remember when talking about Cage and Fluxus is that one of Fluxus' most recognisable contributions is the invention of intermedia. The word was coined by Higgins in 1966, but Fluxus works have been intermedial right from the start. Intermedia should not be confused with multimedia. The happening that John Cage so famously organised together with Robert Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham at Black Mountain College in 1952 was multimedial. Cage wrote the music, Cunningham choreographed the movements and Rauschenberg painted. Intermedia as Higgins described it, inhabits the no-man's land between the media. It makes use of various media but is not reducible to any one of them. There is a considerable number of Fluxus works that can manifest themselves in different media. George Brecht's work is famous for it. His "Word Event", for example, can just as well take the shape of an EXIT sign as that of a performance in which the attention of the audience is drawn towards an EXIT sign or that of an EXIT sign observed in daily life.

In short, the connection between Cage and Fluxus is as misleading as it is significant. In the circles that originated the European contribution to Fluxus, Karlheinz Stockhausen played a role similar to that of Cage, but Stockhausen's serialism could never have given the same impetus to Fluxus that Cage's amazing inclusiveness did. Although it remained musical, Cage's redefinition of musical composition as a mere time frame, his willingness to embrace all sound and his development of the idea of indeterminacy is hugely sympathetic to the artistic agenda of Fluxus. And sympathy is something different than influence. It bridges the 50 years between Cage and Fluxus, or the 25-30 years between Cage and the first generation of Fluxus artists, by means of a shared interest rather than the authoritarianism of a master-pupil relationship. An interest, it needs to be added, that has the same roots but focuses entirely differently and leads to entirely different results.

søndag den 30. september 2012


What a summer! Hard slog around the clock to get the catalogue finished, feverish last minute brush-ups of the cards that are the backbone of the show, the grand opening of our Fluxus extravaganza at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin… what a season it has been, and the new one is shaping up to be exactly the same. Forty days until the opening of our interactive digital Fluxus archive at Kunsthallen Nikolaj in Copenhagen and counting. A performance festival (hopefully) to think about, talks, plans to give extra attention to the Danish Fluxus events, et cetera, et cetera. Because I have so much time on my hands I will try to publish a small entry on a subject to do with Fluxus every day until 2 November, as a way of counting down. You can consider this the first one: a formal announcement of the fact that der Irre ist los – the Lunatic is on the Loose – Den gale er løs - de gek op vrije voeten is. From today on, the Fluxus nut will rave about Fluxus every single day. See you tomorrow!

tirsdag den 26. juni 2012

BACK SOON (hopefully)

No blog entries since July 2011, what a shame. It is not as if I do not have anything to say, either. I have started several entries, but have simply never had the time to finish them. I have been much too busy teaching (museum studies and contemporary art at the University of Copenhagen) and preparing a digital archive documenting European Fluxus events during the 1960s and 1970s (see the project website here). The archive opens at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin on 12 July and will also be on display in Paris, Copenhagen, Budapest, Krakow and Vilnius. After the opening, I count on being Back with new fluxes of the mouth. Lots of them, both in connection with my work on Fluxus and with an upcoming project to do with Danish artist Niels Lomholt's mail art archive (see the web site devoted to a recent publication on the archive here, including a statement by my own hand). Talk to you soon!