Found— a copy of Manifestos, the eighth Great Bear Pamphlet published by The Something Else Press of New York in 1966.
The Something Else Press was an avant gardeAmerican publisher of writers associated with Fluxus, an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, designers, composers and poets inspired by the composer John Cage. Many, including Yoko Ono, whose Grapefruit ( see Bookride blog ) had appeared in 1964, were dedicated to Performance Art and ‘Happenings’. The double pamphlet Manifesto, described as a ‘call to arms ‘, was edited by Dick Higgins (1938 – 98), a leading figure in the movement. It contained material by many of the authors of the nine other pamphlets in the Great Bear list—including Alison Knowles ( Higgins’ wife), Al Hansen, Jerome Rothenberg, Allan Kaprow and Wolf Vostell.
All those who wrote for Manifestoswere significant in their own way, but a few were more pioneering than others. Nam June Paik was one. Born in Korea Paik was a Buddhist whose Zen-like vision permeated much of his work, which included pioneering experiments in video art. He was also interested in the possibilities of cybernetics. By 1966 he could declare in Manifestosthat ‘As the Happening is the fusion of various arts, so cybernetics is the exploitation of boundary regions and across various existing sciences’. He went on to declare that he is ‘video-taping the following TV programmes to be telecast March 1, 1996 A.D.’ The speculative programmes on this ‘ Utopian Laser TV Station ‘ feature many of his fellow Manifestos contributors, but also such influential figures as John Cage and Dadaist Marcel Duchamp. Most of the programmes described by Paik recall real Performance Art (‘Confessions of a topless cellist by Charlotte Moorman’; others may be satirical (‘ Baby care by Diter Rot’). One programme for 11a.m., ‘ Jackson Mac Low’s 1961 film in which a standing camera focuses on a tree for many hours, looks forward to Warhol’s five hour long Sleep. Paik went on to explore variations on video art, most notably with ‘TV Buddha’, a video installation depicting a Buddha statue viewing its own live image on a closed TV circuit. Continue reading →
Found – a one page leaflet from the Fabian Society urging people to vote no matter what political party or candidate they supported :
‘…be sure you use your vote somehow. The right to vote was won for you, not by the great statesman whose names are connected with reform bills… but by the persistent agitation of generations of poor political workers who gave up all their spare time and faced loss of employment, imprisonment and sometimes worse, in order to get you a share of the government of the country. Now is your chance to use what cost so much to win. A political battle is about to begin. Choose your side according to your conscience; strike the one blow that the law allows you. There is no excuse for not voting. Even when there is no candidate worth voting for, there is always a candidate worth voting against. Even if you think that both candidates are fools, make the best of it by voting for the opponent of the bigger fool of the two. Whatever you do, don’t stay at home and waste your vote.
…If you want to be protected from unjust legislation use your vote. You owe it to your fellow citizens and to yourself not to lose your opportunity. It is the selfish, indifferent, the shortsighted, the lazy manwho cannot see why he should trouble himself to vote. No sensible man throws away a weapon which has won so much for those who’ve learned how to use it. For all you know, the election maybe decided by your vote alone. How will you feel if you neglect to vote, and find, the day after the poll, the candidate who best represents your interest is beaten by one vote?’
Although the message is ‘just get out there and vote’ it is likely that Fabian backed radical candidates would profit from a higher turnout as the middle classes, traditionally conservative, were more likely to vote anyway. In an era of gentleman MP’s, some very silly indeed, the advice to vote for the least foolish candidate would have been useful too. Note the way it assumes the voter is a man. Nothing sexist here – the leaflet dates from 1893 and it was not until 1918 that women (over 30) got the vote. Full voting rights came in 1928.
A pamphlet found in a Fanfrolico Press book The Antichrist of Nietzsche illustrated by Australian artist Norman Lindsay. Printed about 1927 it is by his great champion P.R. Stephensen who was a friend of Lindsay's son Jack. Stephensen (1901-1965) was known as 'Inky' and was a curious figure, starter of many presses including Mandrake and something of a left wing firebrand who moved to the far right in his middle years. Here he is in his late twenties ranting in full épater le bourgeois mode:
Norman Lindsay Does Not Care An Outburst by P. R. Stephensen
Fanfrolico Pamphlets No. I
Price One Farthing
Why should Norman Lindsay care if suburbia shudders with a horror which is really terror of his stark and ruthless presentation of the image of beauty? Nothing else could be expected, for at this level criticism remains atavistically moral, tribal; and any artist making a vital expression is likely to be regarded as a spawn of Satan, Antichrist, lewd and wicked, abhorrent to all Right-Thinking People. Norman Lindsay does not care how loudly the Good People howl for his suppression. But the Ofﬁcial Art Mob (or Mobs) also dislike him, with the intensity of a fascination which repels as it attracts. And as these quite sophisticated persons officially disown Suburbia, it is difficult for them to damn the man in Suburbia’s phrasing. Yet they must do something about it, because his work is by contrast a continual exposure of their own artistic ineptitude and moral vacuity. So they seek to explain him away, ostrich principle. Continue reading →