Tuesday, June 14, 2016
For Richard Canard’s 75th birthday a couple of great minds got together to come up with a way to honor the man, the myth, the pseudonym, Richard Canard. It was all initiated by Marla in Charleston South Carolina. When she asked if I was interested in coming up with a 75th celebration I enthusiastically screamed, “Yes.” Richard has been my mail art guide for years so anyway I can show my appreciation, I do. First we solicited folks to create something in honor of the man. Folks made stickers, stamps, blank poem sheets, and some amazing stamps. It wasn’t hard to stoke the enthusiasm for the NC native and mail-art original. After collecting some of the physical items, Marla gave me a list of thirty names to mail out packages to and she took about the same. The idea was to send Richard a bunch of items on June 5th, his 75th birthday. One of the items I made was an add-and-return postcard asking folks to fill in what Richard Canard looked like. Here are what these fine folks came up with. The entries came from and are in order Carina Granlund (Finland), Katerina Nikoultsou (Greece), Lucky Pierre (USA), Mars Tokyo (USA), Mim (USA), Rafael Gonzalez (Spain), Ruud Janssen (Netherlands), Susan McAllister (USA), and Toni Hanner (USA).
Monday, June 6, 2016
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Before I went to Europe I sent out a couple feelers to people about mail-art events, or simple meet ups. It was a desperate plea, one that didn’t have any results. No worries I thought, I’ll do my thing and collect trash and if something comes up mail-art related then great, and if not, that would be great too. A week before I was supposed to leave, I was busy making my “bunny boards” to send to folks. Allan in NYC had sent the first one back so I shared his amazing work. Well, he thought I should be more modest when commenting on what he added to the bunny board, so his work was…good. (I love it!). In the process of moving the image around and the subsequent blog post, Viktor Kotun in Hungary got in touch with me, asking that he would be interested in the project. With a little back and forth I learned that he actually worked at Artpool in Budapest. Although I knew Artpool and “liked” their Facebook page, I wasn’t exactly sure of the influence the place / person / mail-art institution had on this whole thing that I cared about. If there’s one thing I know for sure, is that the mail-art network is large and I know nothing about it. It seems that every day I’m confronted with new information I feel embarrassed I didn’t know about the day before. A little back and forth and Viktor wrote the following few lines, “What is your plan here? I'm working at Artpool Art Research Center, maybe you could bring some material for our archive? Maybe you are interested to do some research or just a visit here?” Of course I wanted to go to there, of course I wanted to see what was going on. Going to Artpool was the only thing I HAD TO DO on my list of Central European activities. That and eat sausages and drink beers, but I knew I could easily find that almost everywhere. I didn’t have anything to give to them since I had sent out all of my bunny boards. An empty one was supposed to come back to me but it never did. One of the participants decided not to use it after I mailed it to them. Oh well, I went empty handed. My visit was scheduled for Tuesday May 24th, my first full day in Budapest. Earlier in the day I did our usual morning tour around the city, and then was cut loose at lunch time. Gerald and I went to the big market right by the river and tried a kolbice, a culinary abortion of flavors. That thing had multiple kinds of little hot dogs in it, bacon, a few sauces, sauerkraut, and was wrapped in a sesame seed cone shaped bread. It was just the energy I needed to find Artpool. I said goodbye to my crew and went out into the streets. I knew I wanted to get there, but I knew I wanted a little time of my own, a little time to get lost and figure out this new city a little bit. The getting lost part wasn’t all that hard considering I didn’t have a lot of info on me. I also didn’t have internet connection and I didn’t have a map. I did have three bits of information. I knew it was kind of near the Operahaus, by a small park named after Franz Liszt, and it was across from a Hooters. That’s right, a fucking Hooters! Not sure if capitalism winning and bringing a Hooters was really worth it for the people of Hungary? The “best of the west” with breasts clad in orange. (I hate us!) From just the earlier three hour tour (a three hour tour) I set out on my journey. It took me a couple hours of walking around to find the trail. The only drama was when a lady grabbed my arm and pulled me towards her. Yelling “Get off me, bitch” even in English will get you out of a sticky situation in Hungary. I think I scared her. The only way I was able to find the place was using that other beacon of American capitalism, McDonald’s. They have Wi-Fi and pay toilets and a guard at the door to keep you from lingering too long. It seems I lingered too long in there. He came around and bounced me from what has to be the prettiest McDonald’s I have ever seen in my life. Staying in there long enough without buying anything made it feel like I had won, like I had beaten that buff Hungarian strongman. I walked out of there with screenshots of my first real map of the day. Somehow I was only half a miles walk from my destination. Having a wonderful sense of direction can be a plus when halfway around the world in a city you’ve never been to. No, I didn’t ask directions. The door was locked when I got there. It was a click the button and get buzzed in sort of door. The problem was that I couldn’t find the corresponding numbers on the call box. I got inside the first time when a woman opened the door and I rushed in behind her. In her mind she had to be thinking “stranger danger.” I walked inside the long entryway and saw nothing that I looked correct. It felt like a residential building, a really beautiful residential building with a courtyard in the middle of the structure.
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