The Archives of the Eternal Network

The Mail Art Collection of the Ontological Museum

Highlights from:

The Archives of The Eternal Network

The Archives of the Eternal Network is currently a work in progress in preparation for a similar makeover of the Ontological Museum website. This could take a year to put everything in place the way we want it to be.

Please sign up to our Newsletter and our posts by mail service. And send some mail art! We would love to correspond with you

Frequently asked questions

Most frequent questions and answers

What is Mail Art ?

Mail art (also known as postal art and correspondence art) is a populist artistic movement centered on sending small scale works through the postal service. It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson’s New York Correspondence School in the 1950s and the Fluxus movement in the 1960s, though it has since developed into a global movement that continues to the present.  Read more…

Media commonly used in mail art include postcards, paper, a collage of found or recycled images and objects, rubber stamps, artist-created stamps (called artistamps), and paint, but can also include music, sound art, poetry, or anything that can be put in an envelope and sent via post. Mail art is considered art once it is dispatched. 

Mail artists appreciate interconnection with other artists. The artform promotes an egalitarian way of creating that frequently circumvents official art distribution and approval systems such as the art market, museums, and galleries. 

What is the International Post Dogmatist Group ?

The International Post Dogmatist Group begun in the Spring of 1987 by Patrick O’Kelly, Charles Schneider and Cecil Touchon as a response to Post-Modernism. It is the Official Avant Garde meaning that the members all communicate among themselves as an Office, an Institution, a Chair, etc. The Ontological Museum is one such communication vehicle.

Everyone by default is considered a member of the group. All group members are the whole group.

A quote from the post dogmatist website goes like this:

“…Therefore,… the conception of the Avant Garde is discarded as a general movement forward toward a utopian external and is reoriented to a general movement inward…” 

The way forward is inward.

What is the Eternal Network ?

The Fluxus artist Robert Filliou came up with the name ‘Eternal Network’ in 1968 referring to the global network of artists who communicate with each other by postal mail as an act of decentralization of artistic communication among the arts community. The Network is self generating and self sustaining. Today the Internet has greatly enhanced this Network.

How can I be a member ?

You are, by default, already a member. However you may officially participate by contributing something to the Ontological Museum Archives and helping to support the museum by becoming a subscribing member.

What is the Ontological Museum ?

 The Ontological Museum – –  Est. 1996 by Cecil Touchon is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The mission of the museum is to create a collection that is gathered together like a scientific museum that collects rocks or bugs or perhaps like an anthropological museum. It is a cultural record of contemporary art that is unique, in that it is not based on artists being famous or based on the collections of wealthy collectors like most art museums are. It is an artist oriented museum developed around living connections to artists all over the world primarily through the internet.  The works that come into the collection are normally donated by the artists as independent gifts or in response to a particular project or exhibition. The collection contains thousands of items with more added continuously.
The Museum is an experimental artwork that could be called a Gesamtkunstwerk (Total Work of Art) and is also inspired by the idea of a Kunstkammer (art room) or Wunderkammer (wonders room) or Cabinet of Curiosities. For some reason the Germans have names for these things! These are all early, even primitive attempts at collecting the world together into a microcosmic environment.

How can I participate ?

The fact that you are here at this very moment IS participating. Now that you know something about who we are and what we are doing. We invite you to claim your default membership in the International Post Dogmatist Group and join our community by inventing an office for yourself, participating in our projects when they come up, by communicating with us and by sending examples of your own mail art for the collection. We’ll send you something back.

from the Archives

Mail Art Gallery

Envelopes in the Archives
Artistamps in the Archives

We want to show you some of the amazing mail art in our collection.

Postcards in the Archives