EXCRETA FLUXORUM, presentation by Peter van der Meijden
Presentation in the building/eflux, note: address: Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a, Berlin Mitte.

Peter van der Meijden

'Peter van der Meijden (Amsterdam, 1969) is an art historian, publicist and lecturer with degrees from the universities of Amsterdam (1993) and Essex (1995). During the last five years he has been associated with the University of Copenhagen, first as external lecturer, then as Ph.D. fellow. His Ph.D. deals with interactions within the Fluxus network in Germany and surrounding countries in the period 1962-1966.' Sparwasser HQ has invited Peter to reflect on possible parrallels between Fluxus and the Sparwasser HQ program. A public exchange will take place on December 20. at 8 PM.

Proposed preliminary contents of NYC fluxus in Nov.: (…) Banquet on last day of Nov. giving distinguished guests food prepared with strong enema producing medicines – ending Nov. fluxus with a grand fluxus'. The human intestine is between 7,5 and 8,5 metres long. It takes a sprig of parsley just over an hour to cover that distance, while a piece of pork can take the best part of five hours. George Maciunas' idea for a Fluxus banquet, proposed in Fluxnewsletter no. 6 (6 April 1963), would have shortened these times considerably. Maciunas wanted his events to be quick and recognizable. He did not want to have to wait for his 'fluxus' to happen, but insisted to administer his artistic enema himself, so Flux could happen in his own time.

In many ways, this approach is typical for George Maciunas and his idea of Fluxus. At the other end of the spectrum we find artists such as Alison Knowles, whose Proposition from 1962 simply reads 'Make a Salad' and who instigated a long collective performance surrounding the consumption of buttermilk, soup and tuna sandwiches (The Identical Lunch, 1968). For Maciunas, Fluxtime is something that can be manipulated with, while for Knowles, it takes as long as it takes. Her work, like that of many other artists associated with Fluxus, is not a flux and a flush, but a constantly fluctuating exchange between person and object, never complete, always developing.

The presentation, Excreta Fluxorum, takes the dynamic relationship between the flux-and-flush and the fluctuating exchange as its starting point for a (re-)consideration of Fluxus and its reception, with a focus on the ways in which this type of artistic activity/activism may be – and has been – co-opted, and possibilities for resistance to reification and spectacularisation that may still be present and valid today. Taking images of food and the consumption of food as its starting point, it is a rambling pilgrimage along the digestive tract of history – not backwards, seeking legitimation of the present in the past – which would be regurgitatio fluxorum – but forwards, exploring each twist that is met underway and circumnavigating each potential obstacle.