The red “mis-information” sheet was based on your supplement to your Postface for Rowohlt book [Jürgen Becker and Wolf Vostell's Happenings. Fluxus. Pop Art. Nouveau Réalisme. Eine Dokumentation, Rowohlt, 1965]. The date of summer 1964 was set by your self not me, when you said (in that supplement) (not me), that you quit Fluxus, not only you, but in your own words “everybody.” So, all I did was take your word for a fact and assumed everybody quit, except that is, people who later denied this assumption. This is how Phil Corner, Alison, Ben Patterson & Paik got themselves in company yourself (& for a while Bob Watts), because you said you all were shocked by Henry’s & mine (action), (which incidentally had nothing to do with Fluxus). A stronger reason, of my braking all relationship with Paik, was his threat to black mail me (to obstruct my getting US passport) if we did not stop the Stockhausen picket. Kosugi did a classic double cross a year ago. Thomas quit himself. Henry Flynt quit himself, Jackson quit himself before the film culture job, besides he was hired by [Jonas] Mekas not me to do the IBM typing & I had nothing to do with paying him.
By anticollectivism & individualism I meant - absence of any effort or desire to promote Fluxus as a group. This applies to Emmett when he did his Paris fest. I just assumed that if he was not interested in promoting Fluxus as a collective why should Fluxus promote him? Fluxus is not an individual impresario & if each odes not help another collectively by promoting each other, the Collective would lose its identity as a Collective and become individuals again, each needing to be promoted individually. I think have written on this theme too many times, on the point of becoming tiresome, Emmett should know it well. Ben Vautier and Jeff Berner I think illustrate very well what I mean by a collective attitude. Whenever thy organize events or publish material (and Ben does a lot of it) He does it as a part of a Fluxus activity. In other words he promotes Fluxus group (meaning some dozen other people) at the expense of his own name. He has done this of his own free will, just because he feels he is just as much a part of it as I am. In fact he spends as much money on Fluxus as I do. I think that is indication of Collectivism. But when people expect me to be the spender and themselves the beneficiaries only, then I assume they & consider me to be Fluxus & not a collective, thus anticollective. My consideration of your “Something Else” activities as being rival, is based on facts: Sponsoring concerts, events (“Avant Garde” fest, your own happening, that of Vostell), Opening up a gallery or shop, publishing small scale periodicals (Great Bear series) which I consider to be rival to [Fluxus newspaper] V TRE (in content if not format). Postcards in boxes [Robert Filliou’s Ample Food for Stupid Thought], offering to do Barbara’s cook book knowing that Fluxus was doing it. Planning to do a magazine? Why, the next thing will be producing games, objects and furniture, these are the only things we have left that have not been rivaled yet (up to now). I have nothing against people dissociating themselves with Fluxus, nor does that get me mad. In fact I think that by changing the composition (the Collective) is more in Flux. I like Alison and the things she does, in fact herb by film is in the Fluxus II film box and in the Fluxfilm 2hr. program. By rival operation (in regards to Alison) I meant your “everybody” statement in Rowohlt book (i.e., “everybody” closely associated with you?). Regarding my delay in publishing your book, you should know better about my delays, shortage of money & time to accuse me of disinterest, intentional obstructionism etc. Fluxus I got delayed 2 years, and so is Fluxus II 0 only because of $ not bad intentions. I think I may have accounted for most of your questions. Oh yes, some further points of disagreement:
You say Fluxus is not disseminator. - very incorrect, 1000 VTRE copies x 8 numbers Were mailed free as a form of dissemination & promotion.
[you say] “Fluxus is typically hand made?” - I would estimate a third only. & of the printed matter, only Flux was hand made.
[you say] ‘you did not drain people away from Fluxus.” I agree, that you did not drain people - but only their works, which is the same thing (Ben Patterson, Ayo, Watts-Manifesto, Brecht essay, Diter Rot who had promised collaboration 2 years ago, but has changed his mind since, etc., etc. -)
Furthermore, you say you promote Fluxus? I don’t see any evidence of it. There was no mention of Fluxus (Brecht, Saito, Vautier, Watts) in your Games article, even though I think Fluxus is still the only producer of Art-Games (Fischbach show was a good indication of that.)
I appreciate your sending various people to us, not as it happened Knizak was introduced by Chalupechy, and Friedman heard of Fluxus (so he told) from Jeff Berner - who is a Fluxman on the West Coast. For Heflin I give you 100% credit & thanks (though we are not short of people & materials).
Incidentally the red “mis-information” sheet was done about 8 months ago from Czechoslovakia magazine & had very little dissemination elsewhere. It s should be revised however, since many new people should be added and some subtracted, like Tony Cox & Yoko Ono - who fall under the category of having no interest to promote Fluxus (but great interest in being promoted by Fluxus) - what I call Anti-collectivism & Primadonna complex etc.
I am still thinking about your eggcyclopedia proposal, although I don’t think a book version would help the sales of egg version. I am not favoring that arrangement will give final thoughts after discussion with Spoerri & others.
Would like to produce your KIT ideas, which I like very much, especially rubber beds, chairs, refrig- cooking food -VERY GOOD! Also box. Best regards, George.
George Maciunas, detail from Fluxus (Its Historical Development and Relationship to Avant-Garde Movements), 1966. This is the "red mis-information" sheet mentioned in the letter above and below. Of particular concern for Higgins was point no. 4.
Your letter today solves nothing. Just more wild accusations and narrow sectarianism to add to the stock of unjustifiable opinions. I have therefore handled it as best I could, and have sent you a copy of my letter to Jeff Berner, off high I have also sent copies to Vautier and Knizak.
As you can see, our Europe/Asia tour is rather more extensive than I had indicated. All paper are in order, and to prevent your doing anything hysterical which you would surely later regret I have sent complete correspondence files of your letters to me and to George Brecht (I have all your letters you wrote him up till 1965) together with my replies (I don’t have George’s) to Mme. Joudina and to all Press agencies of all Peoples’ Republics. I think the situation will speak for itself.
Correction, I have held out those crazy cards of yours where you denied the right of the PRM to self-determination. I do not want to embarrass you.
These letters include the definition of Fluxus as a movement rather than a company. You must therefore not assume that it is possible for you to elect yourself exclusive dictator with the exclusive right to the term. Note that I normally use the word uncapitalized to make this distinction, though I would prefer not to have to.
You and I both know who are Fluxusts, will they, nil they. We shall now proceed to reclaim them. I am writing an essay on the whole matter, defining Fluxus as any work which belongs to the flux of media questions and art/life and other intermedial questions. I suggest that you now change the name of your production function to Fluxus Products, Inc., and incorporate, because within a very short time you can expect to be receiving far greater financial returns than you now are, and for credit reasons, it will be worth your while.
But while you invented the term “Fluxus” (and nobody will deny you that) you have consistently destroyed its utility, antagonized your real friends and mis-used the whole situation for your personal cultism and aggrandizement, if not as artist, then as critic.
I have placed an inquiry with the New York State Bureau of Taxation and Finance regarding any registered exclusivity of proprietorship to the term “Fluxus,: So far as I can tell, there is none. In other words anybody can use the word. Any later you’ve sent via registered mail four years ago must be regarded as a temporary measure whose time has run out. This is, then, the ideal opportunity to formalize the operation to which you are actually entitled. This would, of course, be obviated if they followed up my inquiry with an investigation into the bookkeeping procedures of Fluxus (how regularly you’ve paid your sales tax, etc.), in which case you would have to incorporate immediately in order to avoid personal liability and possible imprisonment. If you need a lawyer, I can suggest several.
But Fluxus means too much (and I insist on that) to allow any individual person to reduce it to a means of confinement of peoples’ work on the basis of our personal taste, the way Breton has done with Surrealism for example. I made a grievous error in 1963 not to perform the Stockholm Fluxus without you, and in so doing, for the first time, I established a precedent on the basis of which you have been able systematically to reduce the most important aesthetic tendency of the last half century (with dada, of the last century) to a personal fief.
Something Else Press is Something Else Press. It is a commercial company which is open to us. I don not intend to orient it towards Fluxus. Its function is different. Therefore a Fluxus-exclusively company is needed. I hope you will continue to perform this function.
But please do not confuse it and the movement.
PS- I’m sending this letter to all Fluxists, past and present, in order to pick up the pieces.
George Maciunas, Your Name Spelled with Objects D I C K H I G G I N S, 1972 Fluxus edition assembled by George Maciunas.
Dick Higgins, Piece for Maciunas, 1976. From maciuNAs V TRE, May 2nd, 1976.
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