Sunday, 25 March 2012

What The Fluxus?!

From the Fluxus-Collection of artist George Maciunas
Fluxus seems to be full of variables and inconsistencies. Perhaps because it kept changing what it was in its inception; it remained confusing and unfinished fundamentally. The Fluxus boxes were a very interesting concept and this post will explore our own ideas on why Maciunas thought they were fulfilling the ideals of the Fluxus Manifesto.

The Manifesto states that Fluxus should “Purge the world of bourgeois sickness, ‘intellectual’, professional and commercialised culture… PURGE THE WORLD OF ‘EUROPANISM’…” Even though Fluxus boxes did in fact become part of commodity culture, it can be seen how Maciunas thought they could help overcome such commoditisation. The Fluxus box challenged all traditional European perceptions and values concerning Art. They do not have an aesthetic focus, but a functional one and they do not fit into the realm of the institution, ie: The Gallery. In other words, it can be seen how Maciunas was attempting to create an art that was anti-Art, but pro-creativity and celebrated the visual.

This ties into the next rule, which says that Fluxus should “…Promote living art, anti-art, promote NON ART REALITY to be grasped by all peoples…” Fluxus boxes are a living art, as they are functional and designed to be interacted with, meaning the distance between Art/viewer and Artist/viewer is minimized. Maciunas didn’t want particular artists to sign works as their own, but in the name of Fluxus, which further expresses this want for anti-art. This lack of “Author” means a lack of debonair and makes the works more accessible to more than the art-educated and art-critic. With functionality as the focus, the boxes are also engaging more senses, therefore relating to more people, including the vision impaired.

Flux Year Box 2, c.1966, a Flux box edited and produced by George Maciunas, containing works by many early Fluxus artists.

As discussed, in theory the Fluxus boxes seem to uphold the values of the manifesto, however there are a few flaws. Maciunas seems to strive for an art that is anti- institution and against the over theoretical element to art that is often encouraged by institutions and critics. It seems in doing so he has created an art that is so anti-Art, it is hard to understand and is intimidating without the theoretical knowledge of his manifesto. It goes against what the everyday person has been educated to understand Art as being. Also, in order to disregard the Art world in this way, it is obvious that Maciunas is very educated himself, which leads to many contradictions to form. With the knowledge, he is what he is against and without it he would be criticized for being against what he does not know. I don’t feel that the Fluxus boxes are as accessible as Maciunas had aimed, because they are weighed down with anti-Art theory.

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