While Fluxus can best be described as a laboratory, it is often labelled as a collective or even an art movement. In the early 1960s, Fluxus took shape as a floating international community of artists, architects, composers, and designers who pursued what was then one of the world’s most radical and experimental programs of research and development in art and design. Including such figures as Nam June Paik, George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Yoko Ono, and George Brecht, Fluxus pioneered art forms, social practices, and new media. The exact nature of Fluxus is as varied as its participants, and the descriptions applied to it reflect their divergent ideals and aspirations. For a time in the early 1960s, George Maciunas described Fluxus as a collective. Maciunas was the de facto chairman of Fluxus and the primary designer and publisher of Fluxus multiple editions. He is also the central focus in the legendary Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, now housed at the Museum of Modern Art. The special attention now given to Maciunas has tended to privilege Maciunas’s view of Fluxus over equally valid competing views, and attention to his publications during the period in which he saw Fluxus as a collective privileges that view over Maciunas’s own later ideas. In this chapter, a Fluxus artist from the 1960s will examine Fluxus – the historical Fluxus, the notion of the collective, and a vision of what Fluxus might have been.
Proceedings of 'Alternative Practices in Design: The Collective - Past, Present, and Future', Design Research Institute International Symposium, Melbourne, Australia, 09-10 July 2010 / Harriet Edquist and Laurene Vaughan (eds.),