issue 17 :: August 2010

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MAIL ART: Node Pajomo

Node Pajomo zine Fall/Winter 2009
The last two issues of the zine Global Mail in 1996 and 1997 coincided with my first few forays into Mail Art when I was compiling the Mail Art listing in N D. When those two publications ended, I primarily gathered information about Mail Art projects from the Internet (and information sent directly to me). There have been zines/publications about Mail Art since then, Judith Hoffberg's Umbrella (1978-2008) and the short lived Numero comes to mind, but the idea of a comprehensive listing of projects (an impossible task I know) has as far as I know been the role of various Internet sites, which can be updated/corrected every minute of the day if need be, and bypasses all of the costly distribution problems (and fun) of a regular paper publication. And of course, the Internet can also offer possibilities of interaction of message boards and blogs, so we are not stuck with static lists of projects; we can also engage in discussion of projects, trends and controversies.
Even though this publication has moved from printed to online formats, a good paper zine is still worth holding. Enter Node Pajomo, a small (quarter-sized) booklet compiled by PJM (just PJM) to replicate the dense compendium of information of Global Mail (or Factsheet 5). Aping the look of 1980s zines, each entry is cut out of a white sheet of paper and placed upon a background of ever changing collage works and photocopied. The majority of the issue is devoted to submitted Mail Art projects. Other smaller sections list exchanges, collaborations, distros and zines looking for submissions, and tape traders. Throughout 22 pages of its third issue, Node Pajomo remarkably focuses on signal over noise, and, not that I consider myself an expert in the vast, international Mail Art network, but many of the names and projects listed were new to me. Its worth as a resource is assured.
In a brief opening editorial, PJM stresses the need for paper over online documentation of projects as is fitting for a paper only publication. “Increasingly, [documentation] is as image of your work on someone's blog and that is LAME,” he writes. I agree with him, but also acknowledge how nice it is to have so many examples of works by artists available online. With a little effort, one can find many works by any particular artist over numerous blogs and archive sites. In the past, one was restricted to only the works that were directly sent through exchange or documentation (e.g. a catalog or assembly zine). For my last few big projects, I have tried to make meaningful paper documentation for the project participants (the Mail Ant poster, the handmade boxes for the Tiny Box project), but also make comprehensive online documentation for the rest of the world.
Lacking any online presence at all, to obtain this valuable resource, you will have to send a dollar (cash or stamps) to Node Pajomo, PO Box 2632, Bellingham WA 98227-2632, USA. Those in Canada can pay $2 (Canadian) or $5 (Canadian) for 3 issues. International is $2 USD per issue.
review by Josh Ronsen
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