Activating Fluxus

Simultaneous performance of Anima 1, Attache de Ben, and Solo for Violin, performed during Fully Guaranteed 12 Fluxus Concerts, New York, May 23, 1964
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  • Can We Talk Post-Preservation? A Letter to Nam June Paik

    Can We Talk Post-Preservation? A Letter to Nam June Paik

    This is an excerpt from an invited lecture delivered on November 15 at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea, which addresses the positive value of obsolescence and posits post-preservation as an alternative to traditional conservation not only in Nam June Paik’s work but in artworks in general.

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  • About Fish, or Toward Radical Affinity in Paik’s Scores

    About Fish, or Toward Radical Affinity in Paik’s Scores

    In this essay, I discuss the material intricacies of Liberation Sonata for Fish cretaed by Nam June Paik in 1969 and distributed free of charge to the attendees at Charlotte Moorman’s 7th Annual New York Festival of Avant-Garde, Ward Island, New York. How to understand the work and appreciate decay as a positive value?

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  • New Book on the Block: Object—Event—Performance

    New Book on the Block: Object—Event—Performance

    This blog post celebrates the publication of a new volume, Object—Event—Performance: Art, Materiality, and Continuity Since the 1960s, published from the Bard Graduate Center, New York this summer (2022) and distributed by The University of Chicago Press. Read the blog to find out which chapters address project and Fluxus-relevant questions.

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ABOUT OUR PROJECT, IN BRIEF

This research project, which has been funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation at Bern University of the Arts, investigates the objects, events, scores, and ephemera that emerged in the spirit of Fluxus in the 1960s–70s in Switzerland, Europe, the UK, and the USA. Inherently fluctuating by definition, Fluxus rejects any stable, material form. Considering the transitory aspects of Fluxus forms not destined for preservation, and looking through a multidisciplinary lens of conservation, art history, performance studies, heritage studies and museology, our project will advance novel strategies for activating Fluxus through the reconstruction, adaptation and artistic reinterpretation of Fluxus forms.

AIMS AND MEANS

The project has three principal aims : (I) Using examples of collections and individual artworks held in Switzerland and abroad, the project reviews, catalogues, evaluates and systematises the current strategies for exhibiting, conserving and documenting Fluxus. (II) By means of a theoretical investigation of the notions of authenticity, changeability and intentionality and the role they play in the continuing life of Fluxus intermedia, (III) the project advances new strategies for activating Fluxus works through (a) the reconstruction, (b) the adaptation and (c) the artistic reinterpretation of Fluxus forms.

Fluxus cc V TRE Fluxus, Fluxus newspaper, March 1964

IN DETAIL

Activating Fluxus centers on the lives and afterlives of Fluxus objects, events, and ephemera created in the 1960s–70s in Switzerland, Europe, the UK, and the US. Fluxus transformed creative practice for good, not least by questioning the dominant preconception of the artwork as something that endures unchanged. Inherently fluctuating by definition, the creative outputs of Fluxus reject any stable, material form. While many histories of the post-war avant-garde focus on the implications of nascent conceptualism and performativity for other artistic genres, the proposed project considers the fundamentally transitory aspects of Fluxus forms not destined for preservation. By seeking new ways to engage with the legacy of Fluxus through the lens of conservation, art history, performance studies, heritage studies and museology, this project examines the possibility of activating Fluxus, challenged as it is by its paradoxical coexistence of ephemerality and materiality, with implications for how we conceive of changeable artworks that emerged after the 1960s.