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Neoism was a cultural movement influenced by Futurism, Dada, Fluxus and Punk, which emerged from the Mail Art Network in the late 1970s.

The initial idea came from the US Mail Artists David Zack and Al Ackerman, but the fledgling movement found its focus in Montreal (Spring 1979). The Montreal group wanted to escape from 'the prison of art' and 'change the world'. With this end in mind, they presented society with an angst-ridden image of itself. Their activities are typified by Kiki Bonbon's film Flying Cats. Two men, dressed in white coats, stand on top of a tower block. They have with them a selection of cats. One at a time, the cats are picked up and thrown to their death. Throughout the film, the protagonists repeat the phrase 'the cat has no choice'.

The Neoists tended to use the mediums of video, audio and live performance. They developed the concept of Apartment Festivals as a way of showing such work. These were week long events based in the living spaces of individual Neoists. The first of these was held in Montreal in September 1980. Subsequent Apartment Festivals took place in Baltimore (twice), Toronto, New York (twice), London, Ponte Nossa (Italy), Berlin and Montreal (twice more).

By the summer of 1981, the centre of Neoist activity had shifted to Baltimore (Maryland, USA) and was focused on Michael Tolson (who worked under the names Tim Ore and tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE). Tolson is self-described as a 'mad scientist/d composer/sound thinker/ t hought collector/as been & not an artist'. He is best known for his Pee Dog/Poop Dog Copyright Violation, which he performed on behalf of the Church of the SubGenius in September 1983. The event made national news when Baltimore police discovered him stark naked beating a dead dog in a railway tunnel, with an audience of 35 people watching.

The Neoist Network held its first European Training Camp in Wurzburg, Germany, in June 1982. This led to the involvement of the Scottish artist Pete Horobin, who went on to organise the 8th Neoist Apartment Festival in London (1984) and the 9th Neoist Festival in Ponte Nossa, Italy (1985). However, after a few years of frantic activity, all the members of the small British group renounced Neoism. Another large Neoist event was the 64th (sic) Apartment Festival organised by Graf Haufen and Stiletto in Berlin, December 1986. (Stewart Home)



APT 80 catalogue, 1980, PDF, JPGs, JPGs.
Neoist Book, 1984, PDF, Log.
A Neoist Research Project, 2010, PDF, EPUB, Log.


  • PhotoStatic, 41 numbers, ed. Lloyd Dunn, Aug 1983-Jan 1993.
  • SMILE, 1984-95.
  • Yawn, 38 numbers, Sep 1989-Mar 1993, Log.
  • Retrofuturism, 11+6 numbers, ed. Tape-beatles, Jan 1998-Apr 1993.
  • Psrf, 2 numbers, ed. Lloyd Dunn, Oct 1997-Oct 1998.
  • The Neoist Network's First European Training Camp, Kryptic Press, 1982, 72 pp. [2] [3]
  • Neoist Book, ed. Monty Cantsin, Canada, 1984.
Anthologies, Source books
  • Monty Cantsin, Neoism Now, Artcore Editions, c1987, [156] pp. [4]
  • The Art Strike Papers / Neoist Manifestos, eds. James Mannox (ASP) and Stewart Home (NM), Edinburgh: AK Press, 1991. A collection of essays and statements concerning the 1990-1993 Art Strike, together with manifestos mostly dating from the early to mid-1980s. Manifestos.
  • A Neoist Research Project, ed. N.O. Cantsin, London: OpenMute 2010, 246 pp.



See also

Mail art, Fluxus

Art and Culture

Avant-garde and modernist magazines, Artists' publishing, Graphic design, Photography, Typewriter art, Multimedia environments, Design research, Video activism, Urban practices, Zine culture, Demoscene, VJing, Live cinema, Media labs, Cyberfeminism, Community television, Hacktivism, Art servers, Hackerspaces, CD-ROM art, Circuit bending, Pure Data, Media archives, VVVV, Maker culture, Glitch art, Live coding, Locative media, Libre graphics, Electromagnetism, Surf clubs, DIY biology, Post-digital, Neural aesthetics.
See also Art styles and movements.