The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Clemente Padín describes and discusses his vision as a creator and promoter of Mail Art in the 1970s in Uruguay. He approaches the subject from the broad perspective of the movement’s worldwide activities, providing a comparative analysis that includes a detailed description of this art’s various formal modes. He explains that the movement experienced a revival after the 1980s and 1990s, but on the whole has declined since then.
Mail Art is an international movement that uses the postal service to promote cultural exchange and political criticism via graphic artworks that are mailed with no concern for the damage they might suffer along the way. The movement relies on an art form that demythologizes creative mechanisms, putting back in society’s hands an instrument designed to be used for cultivating relationships. The concepts of “no return” and “non-commercial art” are basic requirements of Mail Art as a means of communication and transmission. Padín explains the idea as follows: “From the perspective of the information sciences, you could say that the innovative aspect of Mail Art is the novelty of the transmission ‘channel’ that colors the message and alters it with its noise […] what is new here is the communicational approach, the person-to-person interaction that seems revolutionary when compared to the false communication or monologue being emitted by the mass media.” On the whole, creators of Mail Art sought to have their mailed pieces exhibited at sponsoring institutions for their own ends. Just as the Fluxus group wanted to use official art channels in new and creative ways, the Mail Art movement encouraged an interdisciplinary approach and the use of mediums and materials from different fields. In the Río de la Plata region the movement started in 1969, and spread through the mail and through the efforts of a network of alternative Latin American publications, including the Uruguayan magazine OVUM 10 (1969), and the Mexican magazine El Corno Emplumado (1962–69) edited by Sergio Mondragón and his predecessor Margaret Randall.
[As complimentary reading, see these other articles by Clemente Padín in the ICAA digital archive: “Dictadura o clamoreo en el Uruguay” (doc. no. 1240688), and “La Performance desde la perspectiva Latinoamericana” (doc. no. 1240733)].