Category Archives: Mail Art

Was dem Robin so zum Thema Post einfällt.

Dear Deutsche Post, …

…on August 9th I dropped the following canvas in one of your many mailboxes:

"Paint me" canvas sent to Maria on August 9th

“Paint me” canvas sent to Maria on August 9th.

and three days later you returned it to me like this:

“Paint me” canvas returned by Deutsche Post with one Stamp missing.

Somewhere in between the mailbox and the Briefzentrum Freiburg (the sorting facility), one of the two 145 Cent stamps was lost. You added a sticker stating that my shipment was lacking postage and that I had to pay another 165 Cents.

I had been using adhesive stamps on purpose, because I know that the other stamps usually don’t stick to well. Obviously, the adhesive stamps don’t either. Weird that I have sent out over 50 of these canvases so far and no other ones have been returned to me because of the lack of postage.

So now, dear Deutsche Post, you are going to make me pay extra for the poor quality of the adhesive used on your stamps?

Oysters for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On July 25th, Wired’s Danger Room Blog reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington had posted a request for quote on was soliciting the delivery of 4,000 bushels of “shucked and air dried” oyster shells. By the way, come on, “bushels”?!

That was just too good to be true. So I went surfing the net and almost perished in the attempt to read and understand the jungle of provisions and clauses a possible vendor of oyster shells is required to meet. There are specific provisions on Child Labor (52.222-19), Convict Labor (52.222-3) , Trafficking of Persons (amongst the oysters?), Buy American (52.225-1 and -2) and, one of my favorites, Encouraging Contractor Policies to Ban Text Messaging While Driving (52.223-18). In it, the goverment expenses 70 words to define what “driving” means in this context, then another 100 words to define “text messaging” to then finally come to a point: “The Contractor is encouraged to Adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving”.

Well, no wonder government is so expensive. First, it needs to pay people who make up those provisions. Then it needs people who can express them in legalese. Then  it has to pay people to format those and put them somewhere on the web (and file a ton of paper in the meantime). Then the contractors have to pay someone to find, read, understand, implement and enforce those regulations, allthewhile facoring those costs into their bills to the government. And in the end the government has to pay someone inspect the implementation of regulations. To make this clear: I am not against a ban on texting while driving or child labor, and while all those regulations might have originated from plausible and good intentions, I still am idealist enough to hope that there is some way to make all this somewhat less bureaucratic. I mean, come on. 100 words to define text-messaging?

Anyway, after reading through a couple of these I decided I didn’t care too much (besides the fact that I have no idea where to get that many oysters) and that I would send the USACE just a single shell. AFAIK there is only one place that sells oysters in Freiburg, which would be the fish stall at Markthalle, where I went and got this:

I hate eating oysters by the way. Anyway, I gulped it down, treated myself to some candied Kumquats as compensation and went home to clean and “air dry” my oyster (it stank!).

A couple of days later it was ready to be sent to Denese Kushinsky who was mentioned as USACE Wilmington’s contact for the RFC. And this is what it looks like:

One Oyster shell sent to the USACE Wilmington as a response to their RFC Solicitation Number: W912PM-12-T-0

I am curious as to whether it crosses the ocean safely;-)

Come see some of my Mail Art in Copenhagen!

I was invited by A Kassen (blogged about them here) to participate in Den Frie’s Summer exhibition, which they curate.

From Friday, June 22nd on until August 12th 2012, some of my Mail Art will be shown at Den Frie  Udstillingsbygning.  The opening is this Friday. The invitation reads:

On opening day there will be a performance by Simon Dybbroe Møller. In connection with the opening of LIFE CLOCK, we cordially invite you to our big summer-party at DEN FRIE Centre of contemporary art.
There will be food from Øbro Spisehus and beer on tap, all on Friday the 22. of June at 17-21.

Here is the poster for the exhibition and some text about it:

Thank you to everybody who suffered my sometimes seemingly requests for parts, comments and know-how in preparing my works for this show. I will be blogging some of them here.

If you can’t make it to the opening (but still are around some time until the exhibition closes in August), keep coming back. I will be sending new works to Den Frie until the beginning of August, which will be added to the ongoing exhibition.

I am looking forward to seeing works of all the other artists at the show on Friday. It sounds really promising.

As always, I’m happy about mail at:

Postfach 301
79003 Freiburg

Rattrap to Rattray

Lena is WWOOFing of sorts on a pony farm in a town called Rattray in Scotland.

She received the postcard fairly soon, which surprised me for two reasons:

  • I can’t read my own handwriting annymore with absolute certainty. Had to look up the address again to decypher “Blairgowrie”;-)
  • IT exceeds Deutsche Post limitations.

Before you comment: I’ve read Wikipedia on Rattray, too. So:

The name Rattray is Raitear in Gaelic, and may derive from an English language cognate of Gaelic ràth meaning “fortress” plus a Pictishterm cognate with Welsh tref meaning “settlement”.

Greek Financial Crisis: “Just in case…”

A couple of months ago I moved back into my appartment. When I was unpacking boxes I found a little tin can full of old currencies. Amongst them three pieces of 10 drachmae.

Just in case bailing out Greece fails, I sent them to my friend Andreas in Athens:

Postcard to Andreas in Athens, Greece, Front: Just in case...

Three old 10 Drachmae Coins sent to Greece in case the country defaults and leaves the Eurozone.Postcard to Andreas in Athens, Greece, Back: Just in case...

Damaged by water

During the cold spell in February, my appartment in Freiburg suffered not one, but two burst water pipes. The first when everything froze, the second (less severe one) when the frozen pipes thawed.

During the first, the firefighters spent a couple hours in our appartment vaccuuming water, trying to prevent it from spreading into too many other appartments. The result: 4 other appartments were damaged. Ours so much that basically all the parquet flooring had to be replaced and a couple of ceilings redone. We had to vacate the appartment for three months.

During the first incident, part of the decades old plaster ceiling in my roomates room just came down. After we had evacuated as much stuff as possible from the affected room and while the firefighters were busy vacuuming water, I started taking pictures of it all. The plaster and those pictures eventually became a series of nine different postcards which were sent to about thirty different people (if you’re one of them and havent told me yet that you have received it, plese drop me a line, as always, because I’m going to file lost mail inquiries with Deutsche Post soon.)

The title for the series is borrowed from an Artists Book by the Danish group A Kassen: Damaged by water, financed by insurance, a copy of which they gave me when I was their stand in for Concrete Floor (see below) at Liste Basel.

When you’re checking out A Kassen’s site, go take a look at the projects. My favorites:  Mail (of course), Drip (white wine!) and Concrete Floor.

Postcard: Cheese from Nat(h)alie

Rarely she does send me postcards, but when I receive one from Nat(h)alie, they’re always great. Here is the last one she sent.

I guess the one I received on Jan. 3rd speaks for itself:

A slice of cheese sent as a postcard by Nat(h)alie. Back

A slice of cheese sent as a postcard by Nat(h)alie. Front

She was worried that it would go bad quickly if not refrigerated, that is why she sent it to my home address. It has been sitting on the loggia for the most part since, yet by now, almost a month later, it still looks as fresh as before;-)