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Title: Responsive Communication: The Emergence of Mail Art in Latin America
Authors: Rivero Ramos, Francisco Javier
Advisors: Small, Irene V
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Latin America
Mail Art
Subjects: Art history
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: “Responsive Communication: The Emergence of Mail Art in Latin America” analyzes the precedents, characteristics, and ramifications of mail art as it emerged in the context of social upheaval and political strife within and beyond the region during the 1960s and 1970s. The dissertation argues that one of the defining aspirations of mail art in Latin America was recasting art as a form of responsive communication premised on the postal circulation of paper objects addressing a distant audience through a range of linguistic and visual signs. These works varied from instructions directing that a specific action be carried out to open-ended proposals that ceded the realization of projects to a distant collaborator. These works shared the goal of transforming what artists referred to as “passive readers and viewers” into “doers and makers” through remote forms of audience participation.This dissertation reexamines Latin American mail art according to its imbrication with structuralism, printmaking, network theory, state bureaucracies, and the civic-military authorities that ruled much of the region during the 1970s. It analyzes a constellation of artworks produced chiefly by Ulises Carrión, Guillermo Deisler, Clemente Padín, Liliana Porter, and Edgardo Antonio Vigo. These interdisciplinary artists were hubs within an international network of like-minded peers whose heterogeneous body of work reflects the experimental nature of mail art. As a prominent mail artist whose collaborations offer insights into the work of myriad other artists, Vigo plays an outsized role throughout the dissertation. The first two chapters argue that the visual poetry and printmaking practices of the 1960s built an international network of contacts and articulated notions of communication and intelligibility that would be central to subsequent mail art. The last two chapters study Latin American mail art as it developed in the context of political repression experienced in the region during the 1970s. Challenging the bureaucratic protocols regulating the mail, artists defied censorship by relying on the delay inherent to mail art. Across this dissertation, mail art is identified not as a medium or artistic movement, so much as a broad field of interdisciplinary experimentation that occurred at the intersections of art, communication, and language.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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