Forty Years of Fluxus
1. The Fluxus Idea, 1962-2002
1.1 The birth of Fluxus, more or less
The fortieth anniversary of Fluxus celebrates the first organized Fluxus festival in Wiesbaden, Germany. While this is convenient for exhibitions and festivals, emphasizing a time and place obscures as much as reveals.
Emmett Williams once wrote, "Fluxus is what Fluxus does - but no one knows whodunit." This concise description makes two radical statements. The statement that no one knows "who done" Fluxus rejects the idea of Fluxus as a specific group of people. It identifies Fluxus with a frame of action and defines Fluxus as a cumulative, aggregate of Fluxus activities over the past forty years or so. While Emmett is famous for playful conundrums, he may not agree with this reading of his text. Dick Higgins did.
Dick explicitly rejected a notion that limited Fluxus to a specific group of people who came together at a specific time and place. Dick wrote, "Fluxus is not a moment in history, or an art movement. Fluxus is a way of doing things, a tradition, and a way of life and death."
For Dick, for George Maciunas, and for me, Fluxus is more valuable as an idea and a potential for social change than as a specific group of people or a collection of objects.
As I see it, Fluxus was a laboratory. The research program of the Fluxus laboratory is characterized by twelve ideas:
the unity of art and life,
presence in time, and
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