"NOTHING IS MORE FLUXUS THAN A FLUXFEST" Allen Bukoff, PhD, Social Psychologist
If you are reading this, then we assume you have at least some knowledge of what Fluxus is (a type of art and creativity). If you don't, you can get a quick idea of its origins here or here. This website focuses on FLUXFESTS -- the gatherings where Fluxus performance and creativity come alive.
The first major event introducing Fluxus to the world
was a Fluxfest
A group of young American, European, and Asian avant-garde artists presented their unusual and creative performances and activities during a series of 14 events between 1 and 23 September in 1962, in a townhall in Wiesbaden, Germany.
A festival commemorating the original 1962 Wiesbaden Fluxus Festival has been held every 10 years in Wiesbaden.
For the next 15 years the original Fluxus group expanded and developed and prolifically produced hundreds of performance scores, publications, objects, and activities. Few established galleries, museums, and art world professionals were ready to let Fluxus in the door, so self-organized meet-ups (Fluxus Festivals or Fluxus Concerts ... "Fluxfests") became the main way for Fluxus artists to get together and to present their work to each other and to the world. The first Fluxfest in Wiesbaden, Germany, became the template for how the early Fluxfests were organized and presented. The Fluxus artists took turns presenting their performances, readings, and activities, often employing props like ladders, buckets, pianos, string, paper, scissors, water, and paint. Some performances were by individual artists, some were by groups. The performances and activities were intended to be performed for an audience (even if and when the audience was mostly the other performers). Some performances and activities involved audience participation.
This website documents the re-emergence of
by new groups of artists who have continued to explore, create, and energize Fluxus
around the world
in the 21st Century
The Elements of a Fluxfest
The original Fluxfests consisted of a series of "art" performances and activities, usually one at a time. Anything -- especially anything that stretched or broke conventional notions of what was "art" -- was a candidate. This usually included a wide range of "performances" from dripping water into a bucket, to making a salad, to screaming, to drawing a line and following it, to making "music" by destroying a piano. These performances were done by individuals, pairs, or groups, usually following a set of instructions ("Fluxus scores"), and sometimes involving audience participation.
All of the modern Fluxfests that are reviewed here have been built on the basic and original Fluxfest format. Most of them -- most notably the North American and Lithuanian Fluxfests -- have also added other new elements. These are described below.
Modern Fluxfests -- Locations and Participants
At least 28 Fluxfests have been held since 2009. The majority of these have been in the United States and in Lithuania. Fluxfests have also been held in Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. The modern Fluxfests have continued the tradition of international participation that has existed from the very first Fluxfest in Weisbaden. Attendees to the modern Fluxfest have come not only from the host cities but also have come from many different cities, regions, and countries -- including Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Germany, Italy, England, Wales, and The Netherlands. The internet has only expanded international participation and interaction. A recent Fluxfest held online -- during the COVID pandemic -- brought together artists from Argentina, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, U.K., and the U.S.
The Evolution of the Modern Fluxfest
FLUXFESTS IN NORTH AMERICA
The internet has played an important role in facilitating participation in the 21st century Fluxfests. Social media -- especially Fluxlist, the online Fluxus community established in 1995 -- has been used to announce and promote the North American Fluxfests, to allow people to participate remotely, and to report on the activities at these events.
Most of the modern North American Fluxfests have been organized by Keith A. Buchholz. Keith established a set of activities that have become the template for these Fluxfests.
The North American Fluxfests have continued the tradition of Fluxus performance sessions and activities often held at several or more cooperating public venues (usually art related). Live streaming and pre-recorded video performances from and to remote participants are a new Fluxfest element that has expanded Fluxfest participation. An exhibition of art/mail art from artists who can't attend the Fluxfest in person but want to participate is another new Fluxfest element pioneered by the North American Fluxfests. The mail art exhibition that was part of the 2020 California Fluxfest, for example, displayed more than 500 pieces of mail art from 289 people from 36 countries. Some of the U.S. Fluxfests have facilitated public participation and interaction via mail art, button-making, art-creation, and Fluxus literature stations. Organized field trips to Fluxus-relevant art exhibitions and locations have become another addition to the Fluxfest schedule. One or more public dinner celebrations are also typically held. Group photos of the Fluxfest participants have become an important ritual and record.
FLUXFESTS AND CREATIVE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN LITHUANIA
Lithuania and especially the city and region of Kanunas -- where George Maciunas was born and grew up -- is very active in holding Fluxfests (Fluxus Festivalis) and celebrating George (Jurgis) Maciunas. The first Fluxfest in Kaunas was held in 2011 and included a contingent of Fluxus artists from the U.S. Fluxus Festivalis was revived in Kaunas in 2017 and been held every year since. The annual Festivalis includes costume and performance activities and a street parade and march to George Maciunas's childhood home. More than 5000 people participated in the 2022 Fluxfest and march. In 2022 Kaunas also celebrated being the European Capital of Culture. Preparations for the year-long event included a major six-year community and cultural development project called "FLUXUS LABAS!" (HELLO FLUXUS!) designed to bring the creative spirit of Fluxus to life in contemporary Lithuanian culture.
The Kaunas Fluxus events have involved hundreds of volunteers and thousands of participants. Some of the people who have helped create and lead these events include
Arturas Zuokas the former Mayor of Vilnius who initiated The Fluxus Ministry and promoted Fluxus on a national scale. The first Fluxus Festivalis in Kaunas in 2011 was produced by Kaunas Biennial and organized by Vėjūnė Sudarytė (Programmer), Ed Carroll (Concept/Idea), and Keith A. Buchholz (exhibition curator from U.S.). The creative community development efforts of Fluxus Labas! (2017-2022) were led by Aistė Paukŝtė and others. Aistė Paukŝtė and others at Kaunas Artists House continue to organize Fluxus Festivalis and Kultūra ki Kiemus events.
Clicking on a graphic below will take you to that Fluxfest
A lot of the information, photos, and videos presented here are scattered all over the internet or reside in private archives. I received help from the following people in pulling all of this together (names in bold provided photos, videos, or posters):
Sebastian Adams Catherine Mehrl Bennett John M. Bennett Jo Burzynska Keith A. Buchholz Mary Campbell
Ed Carroll Daryl Feehely Bill (Picasso) Gaglione
Jean Kusina Patrick Lichty
Barbara Lubliner Bibiana Padilla Maltos
Aistė Paukŝtė Svetlana Pesetskaya
Stefan Brand Stifter Viv DaydeDada Vassar Jane Wang
Jennifer Weigel Reid Wood Tamara Wyndham
If you know of any other Fluxfests that have been held during the last twenty years, please let us know and we will include them here! Email us with the information.
This web page created by Allen Bukoff, PhD using digital materials from a variety of sources.