Categories such as collective, attitude, movement and even network are of questionable value when defining Fluxus, the identity of which has been the subject of debate since its first public appearance at the Festival of Wiesbaden fifty years ago.
The uncertainty has led to numerous contemporary art practices, such as relational and collaborative art, being traced back to Fluxus, although not much attention is paid to Fluxus in the more orthodox and habitual genealogies of contemporary art (minimalism, conceptual art and pop art).
A Fluxus map: documents about internationalism, public-actions and events is a documentary exhibition that seeks to re-examine the often unexpected connections that can be drawn between Fluxus and other moments in history (such as the Soviet revolution), past artistic movements (Dada) and larger phenomena (the culture of televised entertainment). After all, as the artist George Brecht declared, Fluxus encompasses opposites.
Maps, although they usually fall short in their intention to represent a given territory, are useful in this space because of their ability to join far away points and provide evidence of unsuspected links. The map was the tool most frequently used by George Maciunas (1931-1978), the founder and lifeblood of Fluxus, in his attempts to historicize the movement and also to do away with its limits, as part of the all-embracing impulse to summarize in Fluxus the history of art, the neoavant-garde and even Western civilization, among other things. It thus comes as no surprise that Maciunas would call maps learning machines.
In addition to these delirious and boundless genealogies, the selection highlights events. Defined as the most representative form of action in the context of Fluxus, events consisted of performances, some of which had no performer, and which dealt with the ordinary actions that often go unnoticed. The event was ultimately presented as an example of an art that had no need for the artist figure, in which the agency of the audience, in its imagination or its action, played a crucial role.
Also central was the international dimension of Fluxus, as seen in its relationship with movements taking place at the same time in different parts of the world (from Germany to Japan, and passing through Yugoslavia and Spain), nodes with which it vied as a rival or had temporary connections, thus laying the foundations for a new International of artists.
This documentary exhibition includes a mediatheque, which shows the decisive role that film and music played in Fluxus. Flux-Films, films produced by Maciunas over several years (1966-1970), are key to understanding how the use of this medium developed in the neoavantgarde context. This section also contains some of the most important and least well-known references in the world of Fluxus, such as Spike Jones and His City Slickers, a group of comedians and instrumental virtuosos who advocated a kind of burlesque musical theatre that had great resonance with both John Cage and Fluxus.