Ephemera: a monthly journal of mail and ephemeral works was an artists' magazine edited by Ulises Carrión, Aart van Barneveld and Salvador Flores, and published in 12 numbers by Other Books and So, Amsterdam, between 1977-78. Ephemera published contributions that the editors received daily through the international network of mail art. The magazine is a key example of the ‘assembling’ genre of mail art: compilation-style publications that emphasize the networked nature of mail art within their production process. As Guy Schraenen writes, Ephemera testifies to Carrión’s idea of mail art as a “cultural strategy” that rejects notions of subjectivity and authorship, “revealing an immense diversity in the aesthetics, conception, and geographical origins of the works”.
The issues of Ephemera generally follow a tabloid-style format, with contributions reproduced at their original size and arranged in a collage-like fashion across the pages. Many of the issues also feature artistamps, artworks and multiples inserted into the magazine, disrupting the uniform flow of the printed pages. Ephemera gives insight into the international scope of Carrión’s mail art circles. In particular, Carrión maintained strong ties with Latin American mail artists, whose concerns, according to Zanna Gilbert, “stemmed more from an engagement with experimental poetry and theories of language than with any knowledge of Ray Johnson’s or the Fluxus movement’s love of the mail”.
Several theme issues are included in the 12-volume run of Ephemera. Ephemera no. 7 is a special issue by Ulises Carrión, consisting entirely of a handwritten text relaying a a long series of mundane social interactions from the artist’s life. The text can be understood as a kind of conceptual writing that stands in opposition to literary or narrative language, and also prefigures the artist’s rigorous exploration of gossip in the 1982 project Gossip, Scandal and Good Manners. Ephemera no. 10 is a special “Langwe Jart” issue comprised of artwork and visual poetry by North American artists Anna Banana and Bill Gaglione. Finally, the run includes two geographically-themed issues: Ephemera no. 11: Hungary and Ephemera no. 12: Brazil.
- Guy Schraenen, "A Story to Remember", in Ulises Carrión: Dear Reader, Don't Read, ed. Guy Schraenen, Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia, 2016, p. 22.
- Zanna Gilbert, "Genealogical Diversions: Experimental Poetry Networks, Mail Art and Conceptualisms", En caiana. Revista de Historia del Arte y Cultura Visual del Centro Argentino de Investigadores de Arte (CAIA) 4, 2014, p. 1.
The above PDFs were scanned in November-December 2016.