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In the 1960s, Fluxus emerged as a global, interdisciplinary art movement that sought to merge diverse artistic mediums and blur the lines between art and everyday life. Associated practitioners — spanning visual artists, composers, designers, and poets — adopted a playful and open-minded approach to art making, often using commonplace objects and actions to challenge traditional conventions and engage audiences in interactive experiences.

George Maciunas, the founder and organiser of Fluxus, described it as “a fusion of Spike Jones, gags, games, Vaudeville, [John] Cage, and [Marcel] Duchamp.” Many Fluxus artists felt that defining the movement was restrictive and counter to its spirit. By avoiding a clear definition, they upheld their commitment to challenging established norms. This ambiguity, however, has sparked discussions about which artists truly belong to Fluxus.

Instagram account @fluxusgram celebrates the breadth of the movement, archiving the activities of artists including Joseph Beuys, Willem de Ridder, George Brecht, John Cage, Robert Filliou, Al Hansen, Dick Higgins, Bengt af Klintberg, Alison Knowles, Addi Køpcke, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Shigeko Kubota, La Monte Young, Mary Bauermeister, Joseph Byrd, Ben Patterson, Daniel Spoerri, Ken Friedman, Terry Riley and Wolf Vostell.

Among the page’s recent posts is a carousel dedicated to Slovak composer and cellist Milan Adamčiak’s Water Music, 1970. Adamčiak, along with Róbert Cyprich and Jozef Revallo, performed Vodná hudba [Water Music] in Bratislava. Its presentation — literally under the surface of water — challenged traditions of performance. The acoustic qualities of the swimming pool, acting as the musicians’ stage, play a critical role in shaping the sonic work.

Elsewhere, discover Nam June Paik’s Zen for Walking, 1959/1975. For this work, Paik, considered the forefather of video art, dragged objects like spoons or violins through the streets. An objet d’art of the same name — a pair of old sandals with an attached bell and carved stone head — was used in one performance. The sound these objects made when dragged on the floor nods to John Cage’s work, which extended the idea of music to include noise and silence.

Keep scrolling to learn about Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece from 1964. First performed at the Yamaichi Concert Hall in Kyoto, Japan, Ono’s Cut Piece is an important work within the feminist art movement. During the performance, audience members were invited to cut off pieces of Ono’s clothing until she was naked. Ono sat cross-legged on stage, remaining silent and motionless as her clothes were cut away. The audience kept the remnants of her hacked garments, underlining their role in the work.

Fluxus’ emphasis on combining artistic media and breaking down traditional boundaries continues to inspire artists today. Its refusal to be clearly defined allows for a varied and dynamic range of creative expressions, reassessing established norms and fostering an environment of innovation and play. And @fluxusgram — self-styled “the home of Fluxus online” — is a fantastic resource, keeping fresh in our minds one of the most fascinating movements in art history.

Feature image: Nam June Paik and his Buddha TV, 1974, at Projects: Nam June Paik (29 August – 10 October 1977), Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1977. Photo: Eric Kroll

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