If you enter fluxfish into a search engine, Melissa Wand’s newsgroup on IUOMA will be the third hit that appears. Before that, the algorithm only tries to place results that might be of interest to aquarium owners.
The connection between the terms Fluxus and fish seems very interesting to me, especially these days.
Leaving aside the fact that others also use the letters as well (FLUX also stands for Fisheries Language for Universal eXchange…), the use of the terms FLUX and FLUXUS in creative circles is reminiscent mostly to an art movement that was also manifested in artists of the mail art scene. Wikipedia writes: “Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers and poets during the 1960s and 1970s who engaged in experimental art performances which emphasized the artistic process over the finished product.”
Describing the “letting flow” in art as an actual work of art takes away the author’s sovereignty over the work, but also gives him the pleasure of not being addressed in his external perception about its quality. The work arises from the occasion and is supported by all protagonists. And yet, for some performance artists, the longing for social generalization probably also plays a role, nourished by concern about alienation. What predominates, addressing one’s own fears or the joy of sharing them, remains to be explored on a case-by-case basis.
My engagement with these two terms goes back to another experience.
As a little boy I learned to watch the fish in a special way in the waves near the coastline of the Costa Brava in Spain. At the age of 7, I took the heaviest stone that I could barely carry. I swam out a few meters with diving fins and then sank down to 3-4 meters, facing the beach.
I sat quietly on the seabed and waited. After a short time the fish came swimming in and used me as a rock so they didn’t have to do as much work against the waves. They swam in front of me in the shadow of the sea waves established by my little body and I was able to look at them at my leisure.
Over time, my endurance to hold my breath got better and better. At the age of 8, I was able to spend more than 3 minutes underwater, way to much for my mother.
This calmness in the situation, the observation and the joy in designing this observation space, all of this also motivated me to later turn to people and often take on the role of observer there too.
In my work on FLUXFISH I explore the question of what the dimensions of a work of art can be. When you look at a picture on the wall in a gallery, the answer seems simple, just as simple as the answer to who was the observer in my underwater experiment and who was being observed.
But if you include the circumstances that flow up to the point of viewing this work on the wall into the work, then at this moment of viewing the work subjectively culminates into an image, but in the flow of time they also add up events before and around this work. I will pursue the question of whether it is not time to redefine the concept of a work of art, more appropriately, more contemporary.
The image shows four collages by the artist Maria Garcia. Garcia is a rare but regular guest at the artist residency CASAdelDRAGON. The works of art are based on stamp impressions from the social-dada project. Garcia created her work, and yet it is connected in many ways to the work of hundreds of international mail art artists in this large social sculpture.
What are the limits of this work? You understand?
As a little boy, I didn’t just look at these fish. I saw myself, in the eyes of these fish, looking at myself as I look at these fish. And I was aware that there was also an outside looking at me in this moment of being.
It was a great pleasure for me to be able to hold my breath for longer and longer. My resting heart rate was later enough for me to perform well in competitive sports.
Life delights in watching life. This is how we get excited.