THIS IS THE E-MAIL VERSION
OF THE IM98 CALENDAR-CATALOGUE-DOCUMENTATION
(a.k.a. Arte Postale! #81, a networking magazine of the Ethereal Open Network, January-June 1999)
IM98: A YEAR OF INCONGRUOUS MEETINGS
a concise report by Vittore Baroni from E.O.N. headquarters

How to join and cement together in a shared spirit of "networking community" the thousands of individuals that build up and inhabit the underground channels of independent and counter-cultural communication (zine-makers, net-surfers, artists, poets, musicians, ranters, etc.)? An operative model developed inside the international mail art network exactly for this purpose is the so called "decentralized congress", or an unlimited series of open meetings with the same theme, freely organized by various people in different parts of the world, usually in the course of one year. The first big Decentralized Mail Art Congress of 1986, promoted from Switzerland by the artists Günther Ruch and H.R. Fricker, consisted of about 80 different sessions that involved over 500 participants from 25 countries, with photos and reports from the various sessions gathered by Ruch in a 160 pages catalogue. Six years later, in 1992, Fricker coordinated a new Decentralized Worldwide Networker Congress, that tried to broaden the playing field by involving also people not directly related to the mail art network, with a final count of over 250 sessions and a de-luxe book-documentation produced by another Swiss artist, Peter Kaufmann. Add another six years (6+6+6) and we come to 1998: as a mail art veteran I felt it was the right time to revive once again the feeling of unity of the networking community, so I proposed another one year project, this time centered not on the "academic" concept of congress but on the much more flexible and easygoing one of meeting, to which I added the enigmatic title of incongruous. This was done to add a contradictory and unforeseeable element to the project, stimulating all kinds of reactions to a term defined in the dictionary as "lacking harmony or agreement; not corresponding to what is right, proper or reasonable; inappropriate…". I believe that networking activities, just like good sentimental relationships, need some friction and controversy now and then to function at best, not always smiles and back-slapping.

So 1998 became, at least in certain ethereal paths of the underground creative circles, the year of Incongruous Meetings (IM98), not without an implied tribute to Ray Johnson, the "father" of mail art sadly disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1995, who decades ago used to invite members of his New York Correspondence School and also total strangers to "meetings" and "nothings" (events where, in contraposition with the early "happenings", often nothing at all happened). The figure of Ray Johnson spontaneously became a sort of subterranean leit-motiv for the IM98 project, as his influence and distant presence was felt in several occasions: in particular, on 13th January 1998, three years to the day when the american artist jumped from a Long Island bridge into the cold waters below, several actions took place, with large groups of people in Argentina and Spain gathering at the same time (9.13 pm) in front of local Post Offices wearing bunny masks, and the music group Le Forbici di Manitù playing live A Song About Ray in front of a Post Office in Italy, while replicating a street installation of Johnson’s moticos.

The mechanism that permitted the development of IM98 is very simple: everyone was free to organize an incongruous meeting for whatever reason they wanted, choosing a day or period of the year, and sending to my E.O.N. address (only acting as coordination centre) a printed form that was distributed in Fall 1997 with the first IM98 invite, filled with the information about the When, Where, What, Who and Why of the intended meeting. All the "convocations" received were then reprinted and widely circulated in bi-monthly lists, via snail and e-mail, thanks also to the kind hospitality of various magazines (Anna, Boek861, Open World, P.O.Box, Umbrella, etc.) and web sites, as well as to the disinterested help of artists like Keith Bates (who printed and distributed a large number of IM98 art tickets) and Joel Cohen (The Sticker Dude), high patron of the networking arts with his Ragged Edge Press, who created various leaflets, stickers and rubber stamps for IM98. The original invite and all the subsequent printed propaganda always emphasized the free-and-open-to-all nature of this "no copyright" (and no sponsorship, no funds, no profit) project. The aim was really just to try once more to escape the repetitiousness of the mail art invitation-show-catalogue routine, to go for something different, wilder and hopefully warmly global. Because of the ironical formulation of the invite, I expected many people to see it as just a big joke, but the "incongruous" angle made also possible the painless inclusion of all kinds of misunderstandings and extravagant reactions. If the invite had inspired just one angry letter, one single incongruous meeting or one burst of laughter, I would have been equally happy.

Luckily, I got a trunk-load of answers, launching or documenting meetings of all sizes, based on the most different motivations, from the comical-surreal (a walking meeting next to a public urinal on April 1st to remember Monty Python’s "Ministry of Silly Walks") to the socially committed (street actions in Buenos Aires for the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), from the poetic-onyrical (collective recording of a midyear’s dream) to urban guerrilla (kidnapping of garden dwarves), passing through all kinds of sheerly incongruous do-togethers: instigation at a group sea bath without underpants, collective orgasms, mailing of fake bomb-packages or written banknotes, a 34-hours no-stop reading of Joyce’s Ulysses (in Danish…), a guided musical journey through Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, various attempts at communication with cows, fishes and turkeys, etc.etc. Some contributions are visually stunning pieces, like the series of portrait-stamps designed by buZ blurr after photos taken at meetings, or the snapshots sent by B. Saved of railroad tracks with a tribute to Jack Kerouac written in white marker-pen along the rails, or the photos of different people diving in mid-air to commemorate Yves Klein’s famous jump into the void, and so on and on.

Networking projects always searched for the right balance between minimum cost (in terms of time, energies and money) and maximum effect. The convocations arrived at E.O.N. exceeded by far the number of documentations of held meetings. Some meetings have probably gone desert (what’s more deliciously incongruous?), but even as mere ideas, most convocations are nevertheless stimulating. Some meetings and actions would have been probably carried out even without the IM98 umbrella, as various people saw it fit to participate with whatever projects they had been working on at the time. The IM98 concept was flexible enough to allow also for this kind of "double-use": "nothing and everything may happen at an Incongruous Meeting". As far as documentations are concerned, there were not too many publications produced as "decentralized catalogues", but some of them are very nice indeed: Our Lady of Latex from Illinois sent inside a round plastic box a beautiful circular booklet, with spiral texts and a real coin glued on a cork leaf; Alan Turner sent his documentation of "McMeeting" inside a real McDonald potato-chips bag transformed into an envelope; Reed Altemus and Pete Fischer produced a wonderful copy-art limited edition portfolio with the visual bits collected during their cooperative "Incongruous West" trip; Burt Warren from Australia sent a video of his IM98 audio performance; Angela & Peter Netmail and H.R. Fricker, as proof of their separate "To the Top" meetings, sent mail dutifully post-marked from the top of the Alps mountains; Birger Jesch made a thick catalogue of his "Spring Fullmoon" project that shows people in different countries meeting to place a ceramic tile in a public place; Anna Banana distributed a specially conceived "Incongruous Evaluation Form" to the visitors of an Artistamps show and collected 26 sets of answers to questions like "would you rather lick the artist or his/her stamps?"...

There were small, big, odd, normal, physical, conceptual, imaginary meetings. Sometimes a postcard signed by a number of people would be the only trace of an impromptu meeting. In other cases, small crowds would assemble to watch performances or have group photographs taken, like in the occasion of the various exhibitions at Angela & Peter Netmail’s "Incongruous Open Air Gallery" in Minden, Germany. Some meetings only took place "virtually" in the mail, like the series of postcard collaborations collected in Japan by Keiichi Nakamura under the title "With You 2", or a add-to-and-pass-on sheet for "Incongruous Meetings by Mail" circulated by Anna Boschi in Italy. The most unexpected mailing of all was anyway a big envelope from Brazil, sent by Angela Maria Ferrari Darin(?) and containing 17 little unmounted oil paintings on canvas (some figurative, some abstract) with an accompanying hand-written letter very difficult to decipher. I did not know what these paintings had to do with IM98, but I loved so much the incongruity of this meeting between networking and traditional art that I decided to push it even further by sharing the original works with all of you (a detail glued in each copy of the paper version of this catalogue): I hope the authors will understand the spiritual character and respectful well-meaning of this action!

At least thirty per cent of the IM98 activities have taken place through or thanks to Internet and e-mail, and this is significant of the new direction undertaken by the mail art network. The process is irreversible, and personally I do not see why snail and electronic mail cannot coexist and support reciprocally one another instead of going in separate directions. Of a particular "technological" interest were some meetings carried out through fax and Internet: Dmitry Bulatov in Russia organized an "e-mail/fax-m@rathone IM98", exhibiting all the communications received on the trees of a public park (he also made a large band with the words "Incongruous Meetings" and mixed with it into a large crowd holding demonstration signs in Cyrillic); Charles François from Belgium proposed a meeting with homonyms to be found through Internet search engines (a British participant discovered someone with the same name in the USA, working as a light technician for Marilyn Manson!), and he also invited people to join him through his web site at a new eve dinner party in his home, where thanks to a webcam you could see him eat and drink alone at a table, with the possibility of talking with him through the charming electronic voice of an invisible Miss Kathy (François produced a wonderfully detailed documentation of his IM98 actions, see examples in attachment 3). In the light of the NATO militar intervention in Serbia, a special meaning is taken also by a series of performances and international meetings organized by Dobrica Kamperelic, Nenad Bogdanovic and other yugoslavian friends: this catalogue is not the right place to engage in a historical-political discussion, but surely the way of mail art has never been the way of bombs, violence and hate.

The IM98 also had a bizarrely appropriate appendix with the opening on January 14th 1999 of a Ray Johnson retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York, the same prestigious space where one of the very first mail art exhibitions was organized by Johnson himself in 1970. On the opening day several mail artists met, some wearing Ray/bunny "collage decoder" masks prepared and smuggled into the museum by Joel Cohen. The meeting of a small crowd of networkers continued at the opening of another concomitant and related NY show, "Bay Area Dada: Before Punk and Zines" organized by John Held Jr. at the Printed Matter bookshop, including a section of works in tribute to Johnson. As part of a collective IM98 postal action named "Ray Johnson New York Retrospective School Meeting", in late Fall ’98 I had mailed out a "add-to-and-pass-on" giant postcard with the face of a young Johnson to Joel Cohen, who passed it on to other networkers and made sure that it returned back in NY in time for the Whitney retrospective, were the postcard was finally delivered. A virtuoso, even more than his friend Andy Warhol, of creative gossip like Ray would have been artfully delighted to know that at the opening of his retrospective, more or less by chance, showed up also a certain Miss Monika Lewinsky: when you say the power of "incongruous meetings"…

So, will somebody please do it all (different) again in 2004?

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IM98 PREVIEWS

8-12 Dec. 1997: APHORISMS UNDERGROUND (The Sticker Dude); 31 Dec. 1997-1-1-1998: THE RAT’S EVE DINNER (Charles François).

THE INCONGRUOUS MEETINGS 1998 CALENDAR

CONTINUOUS, MULTIPLE AND REPEATED EVENTS

Anytime in 1998: TO THE TOP (H.R. Fricker); I SANTINI DEL PRETE MEETING (Franco Santini and Raimondo Del Prete); "WITH YOU" MEETING (Keiichi Nakamura); FESTIVAL OF THE WRITTEN BANKNOTE (Stefano Marcoz/Richard Chase); THEME PARK MEETING (Roger Radio); SPIRIT DREAMS (survivors of child abuse, mental and physical); REMEMBER THE POST OFFICE (Michael Lumb); INTERNATIONAL TAX FORM DAY (Umberto Principi/MAGAM); MEET YOUR HOMONYM(S)! (Charles François); TARTARUGO FLUXUS ACTION N.1 (Tartarugo); MAIL ART BATHROOM (Dragonfly Dream); A MAGICAL AND OCCULT DICTIONARY OF MAIL ART (César Reglero Campos and José Emilio Antón); TAPE MEETING (Maurizio Mercuri); BIG BREAST DAY (Rev. J. Luoma); MEET YOURSELF (Geert-Jan); BLAH, BLAH, BLAH (Joe Decie and Apple Jack Dada); EXPLODING PLASTIC INEVITABLE (Maurizio Mercuri); UNFRIENDLY MOBILE PHONE OWNERS (Theo); the sooner the better: PEOPLE WHO OWE US MONEY (M.T.T.); on Friday 13th February, March and November 1998: FRIDAY THIRTEEN (minority groups); each third Saturday of the month: CLAMOR BRZESKA (Vortice Argentina - Fernando Garcìa Delgado).

JANUARY

5: ILLUSTRIOUS MICHAEL SCOTT MEMORIAL MEETING (A.1.Waste Paper Co.); 13: A WHEE-WHEE WEEPING FOR RAY JOHNSON (Le Forbici di Manitù); JUMP FOR RAY (Energyman).

FEBRUARY

17: FRAN MEET ROBIN, BY PROXY (Betty Derrick, Robin Crozier/Fran Rutkowsky); 19: LEX DAY (Lex Loeb); 28: PIG DADA MEETING (Baudhuin Simon); WORLD-WIDE RESISTENCE DAY (Clemente Padin); THE SECRET IM98 MEETING OF THE IUOMA (IUOMA).

MARCH

7: MAILART ANALYSIS ON THE SUNSHINE COAST (Anna Banana); ALTERN/GROWING OLD (Henning Mittendorf); 17: I WILL MEET MY WIFE IN BED (John M. Bennett); 18: IM IN BRUSSELS (C. François & D. Daligand); 21: LET’S TAKE THE GREASE OFF (Mauro Ceolin); 25: WHAT… WHY/BOEK861.WWW PRESENTATION MEETING (Cesar Reglero Campos); 27: NEXT TO ALMOST FINAL SUBGENIUS DEVIVAL (St. Janor Hypercleats, Papa Joe Mama, Lymph Node); 28: POR LA DESAPROPIACION (Parking/I.D.E.A.); 30: 1000 HAIKUS IN A SINGLE DREAM/SMILE (Claudio Parentela); 31: ACCIDENTAL MEETING OF DESIGNEDLY KIND (Dobrica Kamperelic).

APRIL

1: A MEETING OF INCONGRUOUS WALKERS (Luther Blissett); 2: MEETING ON THE GATE (John Held, Jr. & friends); 10-18: STOCKHOLM TRANSFORMATION (Zorg Transformer); 12: SPRING FULLMOON (Birger Jesch); 16: ALMOST FINAL SUBGENIUS DEVIVAL (Einstein's Secret orchestra, Rev. Ivan Stang); 18: BOB KAUFMAN POETRY DAY (Dan Wilcox/Poetry Motel Foundation); 23: FINAL SUBGENIUS DEVIVAL (Dr. K'taden Legume, Rev. Ivan Stang, Brother Cleve Dunkan & co.); 25:CURRICULUM VITAE END OF THE ROADSHOW (Dittman).

MAY

3: GREETINGS FROM 1VON20 (Jorg Seifert & friends); 6-16: INCONGRUOUS COPY (Reed Altemus & Pete Fischer); 7: OFFICIAL MRAUROVIAN PRESENTATION CEREMONY HONORING PERE SOUSA (Jas W. Felter); 8: PRECOCIOUS DIAGNOSIS DAY (Vincenzo Giardelli); HOMAGE TO BUSTER CLEVELAND (Rocola, John Held Jr., Picasso Gaglione, Carlo Giovanni Cicatelli); 9-18: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MINDEN/INCONGRUOUS OPEN AIR GALLERY (Angela+Peter Netmail & guests); 18-30: POSTCARDS FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM (Vittorio Baccelli); 24: PIG MAIL ART IN POLAND (Baudhuin Simon, Bartek & Magda); 27: A TOAST TO BUSTER C. (Jas W. Felter).

JUNE

1-7: GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION (Our Lady of Latex); 1-30: JOHNNY BOY FOR PRESIDENT (Gianni Simone); PAINTING AND COLLAGE WITH CHILDREN (Ulla Rohr); 4: ANARCODADADAY (Bertrand M. Niessen); OFFICIAL MRAUROVIAN PRESENTATION CEREMONY HONORING JOSE CARLOS SOTO (Jas W. Felter); 5-7: HACK-IT 98 (Tommaso Tozzi); 6: ANTI-TIME NEOIST DAY (Frater Rudolph Von Prden-heim); ANTI NEO-FASCISM INGONZOGRUOUS MEETING (Gonzo Circus team, Guy Bleus-42.292); NETWORKER UNDER THE SURFACE (Merlin and Hans Braumüller); 6-30: ART TERRE DE POÉSIE FÊTE (Diane Bertrand); 12-29: OPEN WORLD-VISIONS OF NEW ERA (Nubs Gallery, Beograd); 13-14: THE CHANCE OF YOUR LIFE (K. Frank Jensen & Georgine Margareta Witta Kiessling Smith Jensen); 21: A FLOWER BLOOMS IN THE AIR (Franco Piri Focardi); 23: RAVENNAEVENT (Giovanni Strada); 30: A MID-YEAR’S DREAM MEETING (Vittore Baroni/E.O.N.)

JULY

1 (deadline): DRIFTING IMAGES OF POSTAL TIME (Stefano Franci); 2-3: WORLD BOOK DAY/RENEGADE LIBRARY (Lois Klassen); 4: THERE’RE ONLY TWO SEASONS IN MAINE, WINTER AND THE 4TH OF JULY (Carlo Pittore); 5: INTERSPECIES X-COMMUNICATION (Mister Bizarro); 14: "BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE" (Promenade-concert for Raymond Roussel) (Gianni Broi); 20: MORANDI CONSPIRACY MOVEMENT (Emilio Morandi); MARCELLAND (Tibor Vass - Miskolc Art Workshop); 24: D.D. IS MOVING HEMISPHERE (David Dellafiora); TAKE A BATH WITHOUT UNDERPANTS (multiple ideas in motion); 25: CHIAPAS, THE FIRST SOCIAL REVOLUTION OF THE III MILLENNIUM (Clemente Padin); ENCUENTRO DE POESIA VISUAL FONETICA Y EXPERIMENTAL (Vortice); on a mid summer night: VEC SUMMER EVENT (the VEC inner circle + friends).

AUGUST

A warm day in August or September: TEA TIME (Patricia Tavenner); every week-end in Aug. and Sept.: FREE THE GARDEN DWARVES (Garden Dwarves Liberation Front & Anarcociclismo); 7: FAGAGAGA MEET PANMAN (Mark, Mel, Mark & Simon); 8: ONE WORLD ORGASM (Alex Igloo); 20-23: CONGRESS OF INCONGRUOUS POETICS (Miekal And & Myles Robert); 23-26: ART OF BUNUS IN GALLERY (I. Bunus); 29: THE FAKE INCONGRUOUS PICABIA TRANSISTERS (Dawn Redwood & Peter Netmail); NAPOLEON ISLAND’S EMBASSY INVITE YOU (Richard De Meester); 30: CRACK OF DAWN (Pierpaolo & Antonella Limongelli).

SEPTEMBER

Sept.-Dec. 1998: THE FESTIVAL OF LOST OBJECTS (Gypsy Sherred); 3: WE LIKE NO!ART (Charistos & Ansai); 5-12: THE WEDNESDAY CLUB - A VACATION (Jürgen Olbrich & friends); 10-12: E-MAIL/FAX MARATHONE (Dmitry Bulatov – Russian Folk Noism Department); 12: THREAD PHONE COMMUNICATION (Hilocco Ushui, Merlin, Raimondo Del Prete, Hans Braumuller); 18: THE REVOLUTION HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE DAY (Sergio Messina/RadioGladio); 22: EVERY PIG IS A STAR (Baudhuin Simon, Richard De Meester & Co.); 24: MAIL ART, MUSHROOMS AND NAPOLEON ISLAND IN FOREST (N.E.I.); 30: MARRIAGE OF THE CENTURY (Emily & Joe Casilio).

OCTOBER

The month of October, 1998: OCTOBER IN THE RAILOAD EARTH (Dave Baptiste Chirot); 2: HOMAGE TO MARCEL DUCHAMP (Juan Carlos Romero, Fernando Garcia Delgado); 5-11: WHO’S HOME (B. Saved); 14: DR. HERNIART (Guy Bleus & doctors); 15: HOW TIME FLIES (Ever Arts, Ko De Jonge, Jan Verschoore); 16: INTOXICATED MEETING 98 (N. Bogdanovic, J. Supek, G. Sandor, A. Jovanovic); 17-Nov. 1: YU-ITALIAN IM98 IN BEOGRAD (G. Strada, E. Morandi, D. Kamperelic); 22: 10-22-38 ASTORIA (A.1. Waste Paper Co. Ltd.); 23: CABBAGES FOR A SNACK (New Plagiarist Alliance); 31-Nov. 1: STONES WITH PC (Gianni Broi and Annamaria Caracciolo - Free Dog Club); BRAINS ADRIFT (FURIOUS FIESTA) ( Free Individualities).

NOVEMBER

5-Dec. 31: IM98 TABACOT (Jas W.Felter and César Reglero); 6: EDGARDO ANTONIO VIGO’S HOMMAGE (Clemente Padín); 7: A POSTCARD FOR YOUR KISS (Piermario Ciani and Vittore Baroni); 7-9: 50 YEARS SINCE THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (Claudio Fabian Perez); 13-14: SOFO GLU GLU (Antonino Bove & 8 other poets-performers & 7000 live turkeys); PRISONERS OF THE EARTH, COME OUT! (Association Autonomous Astronauts); 21: BIRDWATCHING FIELD TRIP (Fran Rutkowsky/Robin Crozier); 22: INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PASTA EATING (Arturo Giuseppe Fallico); 27: AN ACTION FOR YVES KLEIN (Stephen Perkins); 29: HAVE A NICE DAY (Alejandro Thornton & Paula Pellejero).

DECEMBER

1-31: FETCHING HOME STRAY CATS… (Techno Papa); 8: THE NO MORE STUPID MUSIC MEETING (Marco Pandin); 7-9: ANNA BANANA IN PONTE NOSSA (E. Morandi, A. Banana); 9: 33RD BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION OF FRANCESCA MANIACI (Francesca Maniaci); 11: INDUSTRIAL CONGRESS (J. Held, M. Cazazza, P. Gaglione, C. Cicatelli); SIT IN A DOORWAY… (Simon Warren); 12: 35 DEGREES CELSIUS: SOLIDARITY FOR LUTHER BLISSETT (L.B. Project); 12/19: INCONGRUOUS Mc MEETING 98 (Alan Turner); 13: INTERNATIONAL SITTING ON YOUR TOILET DAY (Arturo Giuseppe Fallico); CELEBRATING RAY WITH VITTORE’S POSTCARD (Ex Posto Facto & David Alvey); BLACKSHAW’S IM98 (The Blackshaws c/o Josephine Ono Ford); 17: WORLD PANSEMIOTIC DAY (Daniel Daligand); 22: PINTALO DE VERDE (Antonio Gomez); 23: LET’S PARTY WITH "M"! (Carmine Mangone); 26: TZART (Pedro Bericat); 30: REMEMBERING LEAVES OR BUTTERFLIES (Luca Brunori); 31: SZTUKA FABRYKA IM98 IN LONDON (Sztuka Fabryka - Geert De Decker); ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS (Johan Van Geluwe); ARE MAIL ARTISTS MILLENNIUM-PROOF? (Ruud Janssen); JE VOUNDRAIS PAS CREVER (I WOULD NOT DIE) (mail argt); MARK BLOCH’S MAIL ART LET DOWN CELEBRATION (Mark Bloch); A-WAKE FOR THE MAIL ART SPIRIT (anonymous multiple invite); last days: MEET ME UP THE MOUNTAIN (Lawrence Upton); ?: THE CATACOMBES OF PARIS (Marlies Mulders); 32: THE FIFTH DIMENSION NETLAND (Guy Bleus).

IM98 CODA

New Year’s Eve, from 12.01 pm onward: INTERNATIONAL EURO DISAGREEMENT EVE (Jokinen); Jan. 4th, 1999: ALIEN COMINGOUT DAY ("you know who you are"); Jan. 9th, 1999: INCONGRUOUS MILLENNIUM… SLAUGHTERHOUSE! (J. Ross La Griffe, F. Cornerotte, B. Simon); Jan. 14th, 1999: RAY JOHNSON NEW YORK RETROSPECTIVE SCHOOL MEETING (the E.O.N. Archive of Ray & Dead Mail Artists Society).

STATISTICS

Total number of meetings: 151, plus a small number of obviously fake invites, conceptual jokes and undecipherable hand-writings that I could not list in the calendar above. I hope that I have not forgotten or lost any communication. Snail mail and e-mail are still both imperfect systems with some black holes.

Countries involved: 28 more or less, depending on today’s New World Disorder (Akademgorod, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Napoleon Island, The Netherlands, Netland, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tui Tui, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay).

Species: we got men, women, transgenders, railwaymen, aaastromen, turkeys, fishes, stones, Luther Blissetts, UFOs, SubGenii, nudists, mail artists, net-surfers, poets, musicians and even a few art critics.

Total estimate of living beings involved in incongruous meetings: roughly between 500 and 3000.

Photographic evidence: see the Sgt. Peppers type collage on the cover of the IM98 catalogue (ask for a jpg colour file if not already enclosed). I tried to include in it as many received photos of meetings as possible. All (times, places, faces) together now!

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DOCUMENTATION PLAN

The fact that I had to print and mail out, as promised in my invite, hundreds of copies of the IM98 catalogue paying from my own pocket, obliged me to devise an adequately incongruous documentation scheme, that quite simply functions as follows:

1st LEVEL: IM98 Invite & Updates. Starting in November 1997 I distributed for one year a series of seven bi-monthly updates with the list of invites to incongruous meetings. All the updates were widely circulated through e-mail and also made available in some Internet web sites (thanks to Merzmail, T.A.M., Tartarugo and Viva Las Vegastamps). The updates n.1-2-3-5-7 were also printed in editions of 2-300 xeroxed copies with original graphics and manual interventions, distributed via snail-mail.

2nd LEVEL: IM98 Calendar-Catalog(ue). A booklet in a xeroxed edition of 500 un-numbered copies, small and cheap but with invaluable enclosures, manual interventions and much eye-strain on your part. It is also issue 81 of Arte Postale! magazine. Mailed free to everyone who organized or participated to an incongruous meeting and sent some kind of documentation to E.O.N. Remaining copies exchanged free in the mail art network, also available while they last for 2 I.R.C. coupons or 2.00 US $ cash hidden in envelope to V. Baroni, Via C. Battisti 339, 55049 Viareggio, LU, Italy.

3rd LEVEL: IM98 Cassette Supplement. A C46 cassette (plus informative 8 pages booklet) with a mix of nice songs and audio snippets submitted by 13 international IM98 participants. Limited un-numbered arty edition, mailed free to the contributing authors. Extra copies are available at production cost: send a blank C46 cassette and 2 I.R.C. coupons or 3.00 US $ cash at the address above.

4th LEVEL: IM98 E-Mail List. You are here. Free on request from baroniv@ats.it. You will receive all the texts in the printed catalogue plus a much more detailed list of meetings and a few bonus text files. Sent as RTF text attachment (should work on most computers). Please specify if you also want a jpg attachment of the catalogue cover in gorgeous colours. The files might be heavy to download, so request at your own risk.

5th LEVEL: IM98 Chest. The good old hands-on approach. Visit the E.O.N. archive in Viareggio (full address above) and browse freely in the big chest containing all the original mail and documenta-tion related to the IM98 project. See for yourself how incongruous it can get. Hours of instructive fun, refreshments not included. Vreni and H.R. Fricker (the Easter bunnies) already visited E.O.N. and had a chance to cast a quick glance at the IM98 chest.

6th LEVEL: UP 2U IM98. Print your own incongruous documentation and circulate it any way you want.

FOOTNOTE: If any generous Maecenas of the arts wants to edit, print and distribute at his own expenses a 200 pages glossy cata-logue of the IM98 project, I am more than willing to lend him the complete original documentation.

 

 
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