I would like to talk about Trading Session (TS). Many participants do not have access to normal TS because of their location and unfortunatly, there is not too many places where two or more people meet in person yet.
I suggest (of course this is open for discussion) that a list of Mail Trading (MT) participants, who cannot attend TS and would like to participate in MT be established. With this system, it would open to a worlwide TS. I don't think MT would hurt on a long term traditional (in location person to person trading) TS. A system somewhat similar to mail art. I do once in a while MT if I get in touch with other artists traders and I have to mention that it woks very well.
It would be interesting to know how many person do MT. Food for thoughts..... I am very interested to receive your comments on this.
Keep up your excellent work with the ATC NewsLetter and I can't wait for the next edition!
R.F.(Reg)Côté, Quebec City
this suggestion was in more or less those words brought up by several people during the last few years.
to us the Mail Trade (MT) is a rather less important issue of the project. MT certainly helps to spread the idea of ATC-TSs and to keep the different TSs and other people in contact with each other, as well as the copy-left-editions which were actually started to give people living too far away from a TS situation the chance to trade cards (there is an address list of the participants going with every issue so one can get in mail contact with each other). I agree that MT would not harm the existing TS - but it is a different way to trade, less personal and rather within of the concept of Mail Art (MA). (since the early 80 i did and sometimes still do MA and I consider it to be an interesting and sometimes extremely helpful concept of 'being a communicating artist' (or human being) without commercial ambitions. i appreciate MA for being a network that is open to everybody and for the communication that takes place within this network. as a matter of fact quite some of contributers to copy-left are involved in MA as well.) the ATC tackles the same issue as MA from a different side: the lack of communication between people who are not willing to follow the given commercial ArtLife rules or who are looking for alternatives to the ordinary systems. but as said before: the ATC-project puts emphasis on the local network as collaborative cultural situation which can be experienced right in front of your door (or inside your appartment if you feel like it). of course the contact and exchange between the TS-centers is important and very interesting and the MT might be (or most probably is already) an additional aspect of the ATC-trade like the copy-left editions or the NewsLetter. if anyone wants to start a list of Mail traders feel free to do so - for me it is very hard to distinguish between traders who are only interested in the personal trade and those who are open to participate in copy-left and MT (not everybody participating in copy-left is interested in MT or MA for example). but again - there are no rules and this forum hopefully helps the discursus of the ATC-project.
as much as i do understand the 'desperate' situation of some people who live in small places, the basic idea of ATCs is the personal trade - ie. when people physically meet. the absence of a public space in modern times (as richard sennet pointed out in several of his books) leads not only to the isolation of the individual but also to more aggression based on a lack of person to person communication skills. the public space (marketplace, forum) in a physical way, be that in a city or a village, used to be the place of communication. the ATC Trading Sessions try to be such a forum where people from the same city or village exchange ideas, whether that is about art or life in general is up to them: what's important is the fact that a discussion, dispute or discursus takes place which might lead to other activities.
i believe that it is possible in many places to organize TS with little effort: word of mouth propaganda, flyers, posters & press releases will help to inform people. the TS can be held in a variety of places such as restaurants, studios, schools, open air if the weather allows and many other places. it doesn't really matter how many people attend a TS - if it is held on a regular basis usually more and more people will know about it and some of them will attend the TS.
I have been following the discussion regarding the
exchange of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) via mail and how that relates
to Correspondence/Mail-Art (CMA). My own feelings regarding the matter
are quite black and white, although, with that said I want to make it
perfectly clear that I feel people should exchange cards in whatever way
they feel they want to.
will be celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of my formal involvement
with CMA this coming March 23, 2002; so, I have deep roots in the CMA
movement. I attended and participated in the first regularly scheduled
ATC Trading Session in Zürich at INK.art&text back in May, 1997
--- subsequently I brought vänçi¹s concept of ATCs with
me when I returned to Calgary from Zürich; so, I also have relatively
deep roots in the ATC movement as well.
see many similarities between the two creative activities as well as a
very distinctive difference.
very first experience of ATCs was in a package that I received in the
mail, in a package that I would call CMA. I opened the package, and, along
with many other items, I found a number of ATCs. I examined the cards
and understood them to be another sub genre of CMA (in the same way that
Artist Postage Stamps or Postcards or Rubberstampworks are sub-genres
of CMA). To be perfectly candid, while I found the cards visually interesting,
to me they were just another variation of CMA. The format of ATCs (the
standard 2.5 x 3.5 inches of collectible cards) has been used on a number
of occasions by artists in general and by CMA artists in particular ---
I have some half dozen examples of such cards in my archive. vänçi
himself (to my understanding) was initially attracted to the concept of
the cards because of the format and the interaction the cards generated
while he was in Calgary as a visiting artist during the 1988 Winter Olympics.
He wanted to employ the format of the cards to produce a catalogue or
documentation of his activities in Calgary --- costs prevented him from
doing so. After an number of years he finally decided to get around the
cost problem by making the cards by hand and not manufacturing them. At
this point I think he was still working with the format --- nothing new
had really occurred; he produced some 1200 cards and exhibited them at
INK.art&text in April, 1997. The cards attracted a great deal of attention
and many people were interested in acquiring cards and vänçi
suggested that those who were interested in getting some cards make some
themselves and bring them to the closing of the show and trade them. This
is what I think is brilliant about the concept of ATCs --- TRADING, and,
to be VERY specific: face-to-face trading. I received some cards in the
mail and they did not make sense to me (other than yet another variation
in CMA), but, once I had attended the Trading Session while I was in Zürich,
the cards came to life so to speak --- my understanding and appreciation
of the cards dramatically changed!
trade ATCs through the mail (I prefer not to, but, in some cases it is
the only way some people can trade, so, I will continue to do so). I also
participate in the Copy Left ATC exchange project and I will continue
to do so whenever I can. With that said, when trading via mail, including
the Copy Left activity, I consider that to be CMA and NOT actual ATC activity.
To me what is unique to ATCs is the social activity that takes place at
the Trading Session along with the face-to-face trading. I don¹t
see any difference in a formal sense between ATCs and CMA --- that is,
in both cases they incorporate the full range of art media and disciplines,
they are not a formal innovation such as Cubism. Conceptually ATCs are
extremely close to CMA, they are both about exchanging art without the
interface of the artworld and without money being involved. To me, except
for the concept of the Trading Session (which is profound difference)
I consider the two activities to be, for all intents and purposes, the
I said above I will continue to trade cards via mail, but, trading via
mail if a very diminished experience when compared to an actual ATC Trading
Session and I would encourage everyone that has been turned on by the
experience of ATC to somehow set up a regular or irregular TS that you
can attend. That may sound like a stupid or elitist statement as I live
in a city of almost a million people, but, I am aware of people living
in the country that organize successful TS in relatively remote locations,
so, anything is possible. Ideally I would like to see trading via mail
to more or less cease and all of that energy go into organizing TS as
TS will bring the full experience of ATCs to more individuals.
Calgary, Alberta, CanaDADA
September 4, 2001