avant / garde / under / net / conditions (vormals: perspektive | issue 43 | 2002 )

code.poetry.loop | dada.lodge | experimental.bungees | < mail.art.ocular > | post.dogmatism | surreal.sheets | theory.proxy | visual.tray
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[/] interview (deutsch)
[/] interview (english)


[/] ITALY GOES BANANAS (38.33 kb, jpg)
[/] What's wrong with this picture (63.39 kb, jpg)

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> anna banana - [canada]
> vittore baroni - [italy]
> blah brothers - [UK]
> susanna lakner - [germany]
> pips dada corporation - [germany]
| - - -< anna banana >- - - |

/->/ mailartistin und bananologin - kanada

>> The Encyclopedia Bananica
>> / interview /
[question-1] :v: [question-2] :v: [question-3] :v: [question-4]

> [question-1//perspektive]
avant garde sometimes has to live in a kind of farradayic cage to operate from and test its techniques. to observe the established measures and poltitics. mostly its a kind of conspiracy groupi(e)ng. anna banana operates and works from here "Bananaland" with its own Banana post stamps and corporate design items. is Bananland a kind of independent zone and mirror of the eternal network of mail art? what is the advantage to create such an individual zone?

>> [question-1//response]=[anna banana:]

I see all the "created' realities"* of MA networkers as a way of claiming authority for our activities and value system, by establishing a kind of psychic space beyond the grasp and dictates of corporate, consumer culture and the commercial focus of "high art" ventures. So, yes, Bananaland is but one of these many "independent zones" where individual artists can and do state their opposition to/disagreement with, the dominant culture as purveyed by the mass media with its commercial, material focus. I reject the word "conspiracy," which in these troubled times implies notions of overthrowing governments; and while the sort of "revolution" that is mail-art certainly critiques economic value systems which are largely dictated by those in government, I do not see mail artists "conspiring" to overthrow governments. Rather, we have established our own value system outside the main-stream/media/government promoted one, as an example to others of a more realistic and life-affirming value system, establishing both the credibility and workability of a value system outside the one promoted and supported by the mass media. Many of the created/alternate realities (such as Tui Tui, Mraur, Occussi Ambeno, Canadada, the Isle of Toast, State of Being, Terra Candella, to name a few) issue their own postage stamps, 'corporate' designs and other symbols of statehood. It is through these symbols that networkers recognize each other's "outsider" stance, which forms the basis of a large international community. The advantage of this community is that one can then visualize oneself as part of a large group, rather than an individual voice, speaking out in a myriad of ways against the status quo. This recognition, that one is not alone, but part of a larger and larger group that does not buy into the dominant value system, supports and gives strength to the individual voices of dissent.

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> [question-2//perspektive]
Bananaland has its own dictionary and argues as parody of the encyclopadia britannica" and favours "slanguage" against the established art and language agreement. to favourize virtual and/or artificial languages is a well known technique in avant garde working. it is a kind of interrupting the established code in society. what is this "slanguage" about and the "encyclopadia banana" a counter culture jamming?

>> [question-2//response]=[anna banana:]

The Encyclopedia Bananica is but one of many parodies that i have explored and/or enacted. Parody is my chosen weapon against "corporate consumer consciousness;" a way of turning things around and thus providing another way of looking at the world . . . a world of serious, 'scientific/economic" authority that attempts to dictate all that is "important and correct" in the world. To parody serious authority is to
question it's basic premises and poke fun at it's stance of "absolute truth." The Bananica assumes the form of the Britannica; ie. encyclopedic "knowledge" of bananas, fixing the focus on the banana in everyday life in all its aspects; how and where the banana appears, such as in the arts, with celebrities, in events, growing and marketing, history, literature, myth, news, song, show biz and "slanguage." Slanguage in the Encyclopedia Bananica refers to all those slang usages of the word banana; a phenomena created in the culture at large, and recorded in considerable detail, in my files. In reviewing this section of the Bananica, the question that comes up repeatedly is "why banana?" Why not oranges? Apples? My theory has to do with the humorous connections between bananas and the primates who love them, and it's obviously phallic shape.

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> [question-3//perspektive]
anna banana had a strong connex to former dada groups as Bay Area Dada - adaland - and Mendo Area Dadaist. most of your mail art and performance work is to be read in dada context. mail art as a movement seems to be strongly involved in former avant garde movements as fluxus and neoism. is dadaism still an important impulse or should dada go banana? :-)

>> [question-3//response]=[anna banana:]

For me, Dada, Fluxus, Neoism are all names for the same impulse or attitude; that there is more to art than the creation of "precious objects", and Bananology is my particular, friendlier, more "easily swallowed" version of these. Ie. while my events make fun of such institutions as the Olympic games, with its emphasis on "the best/fastest in the world," they do so with humor that attempts to engage and involve the audience in the critique, rather than affronting them. To me, this is a mor or put-down can be.

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> [question-4//perspektive]
avant garde mostly uses manifestos to promote its ambitions and opinions. mail art movement is no exception in this point. there is a common slogan for women in mail art. that men do make the manifestos and women only want to get in contact. in your work is a great emphasis on promoting a "fe mail" network featuring female mail artists. what would your manifesto statement be against this bipolar ma(i)le agreement? do you think that mail art history should be more a "herstory"?

>> [question-4//response]=[anna banana:]

I'm not aware of promoting "femail" networking/featuring female artists per se, but I AM most concerned that women networkers get recognized as the active and valuable participants that we are. Because of
the male inclination to historify the male-made manifesto, the work of women is often overlooked. I would reword the slogan you give, to read: "Men make manifestoes; women manifest." Not that men don't also engage in making and exchanging mail-artworks . . . but they seem more inclined to "crow" about it. (ie. to take their work more "seriously," and believe that their histories and manifestoes are important to write about). I agree that mail art history should be more a "herstory," and because women seem to be more inclined to do the work, but not get up on their hind legs and holler about how wonderful they are, they are generally ignored by the male writers. I am happy to say we now have at least one serious female writer Honoria, (besides myself), who is attempting to even the balance in that regard. She is currently writing her thesis on the affects of the internet on mail-art, and the interactions between both systems of exchange, and is aiming to have this major work complete by the end of this year. I'm looking forward to seeing that, and if you like, you can contact her at: <honoria@mailartist.com>

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