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Postcards for Democracy: A Collective Art Demo | SXSW Online 2021

Beatie Wolfe
Pioneering Musician, Artist and Speaker at Beatie Wolfe
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SXSW 2021
March 16, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
SXSW 2021
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Postcards for Democracy: A Collective Art Demo | SXSW Online 2021
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About speakers

Beatie Wolfe
Pioneering Musician, Artist and Speaker at Beatie Wolfe
Mark Mothersbaugh
American singer, songwriter, composer at Mark Mothersbaugh

”Musical weirdo and visionary" Beatie Wolfe is an artist who has beamed her music into space, been appointed a UN Women role model for innovation, and held an acclaimed solo exhibition of her ‘world first’ album designs at the Victoria & Albert MuseumNamed by WIRED Magazine as one of "22 people changing the world,” singer-songwriter and innovator Beatie Wolfe is at the forefront of pioneering new formats for music that bridge the physical and digital, which include: a 3D theatre for the palm of your hand; a wearable record jacket - cut by Bowie/Hendrix’s tailor out of fabric woven with Wolfe’s music - and most recently an ‘anti-stream’ from the quietest room on earth and space beam via the Big Bang horn. Wolfe is also the co-founder of a “profound” (The Times) research project looking at the power of music for people living with dementia

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Mark Allen Mothersbaugh is an American singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, author and visual artist.Mothersbaugh came to prominence in the late 1970s as co-founder, lead singer, keyboardist of the new wave band Devo, whose "Whip It" was a Top 20 single in the US in 1980 and which has since maintained a cult following. Mothersbaugh is one of the main composers of Devo's music.

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About the talk

Artistic visionaries Mark Mothersbaugh & Beatie Wolfe share a love of tangible artforms, in and amongst their futuristic explorations. In light of the threat to our 225yr old postal service, at a time that could jeopardize the democracy of the country, Mothersbaugh and Wolfe joined forces for this collective postcard art demonstration. The aim of this campaign is to encourage as many people as possible to support USPS (if we don't use it we'll lose it!), our right to vote, and democracy as a whole via the power of art. The demonstration asks you to buy USPS stamps, design your postcard and then mail it to 8760 Sunset Blvd. The postcards will become part of a collective art piece art directed by Mark Mothersbaugh and Beatie Wolfe which will be presented at SXSW.

About SXSW:

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, this year’s online event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, professional development and a variety of networking opportunities. For more information, please visit sxsw.com.

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Can just be 20 minutes of us. Those when I saw I thought you'd like You seen this? Don't want to go to sleep and I don't blame you if you know anything about what they're doing to you. Yeah. They don't want to go to space. I don't want you can send. Maybe we're interested will take your place. As long as it's not a one-way, which it was for a lot of those early space creatures. Did you think we were going to get these many cards when When we started this

directions. Yeah. I think the thing that impresses me most is how creative a lot of these cards are it's like a lot of people you know that they may not be artists full-time but they they can be artist long enough to do an amazing card that's for sure. That's this is a kid, I guess. I think they're loaded kids. This is cool. Damon. When is proud to be an American. That's a good one. What was it? Like having all the cards showing up? Well, okay. Yeah, it was, it was fun to go to the, to the, you know, the mailbox down there, and

there'd be like a big full and a box every day you go. Wow. some people paid attention, you know cuz cuz I admit I'm not that Internet Savvy is others and like Trenton's I never I guess now. I'll never get a chance to see you Donald Trump. Twitter or Facebook or whatever. One painted tweet. I never saw any of his tweets. I never went there. So so I have no idea what to expect. I didn't know if people paid attention to that stuff and apparently, apparently they do, it's apparently

it's a kind of a Well, here we are Grandpa's catching up with the rest of the world on the internet. Yeah, you know. I end up spending so much time just kind of working on my own things that I, I miss out on a lot of stuff that goes on in the world. Now, it's like I member No. 4 years ago or so. And I finished a movie and I said Anita who won the election because you don't want to know it was the kind of thing where you went is the president kidding. When he says, let's get rid of the post office and then

you look can you see they're actually doing things to try and dismantle the post office, you know I you know it Directions to the sewing machine, like sewing machine in retrospect. It looks like It was like four scene. The fact that a lot of people that don't want to go to a post office or don't want to go to a voting Center during a pandemic with it, but we're going to end up mailing things in. And I think the less votes the better was kind of the thought on, on the side of the president's team. But to say things, like removing the post office, kind of really was

shocking to me cuz I've lived in the United States for 70 years now and I'm kind of, you know, all those things where it goes in and out of things where you got stuff in the mail and you go, I wish they would have just left us back at the post office instead of bringing it to me. There's always stuff to it is good and then you think about the whole country its diverse. It's not, you know, when you live in a big city and one thing, you know it, but if you're in Wyoming and if there was no post office, it would be, it would be serious.

And so just the fact that you couldn't really tell, You know how serious it was. It kind of made me. Kind of made me. Well, you're the one who brought it up. You're the one who first came up with this idea, you know? And when you said, let's do something for the post office. Has it rang a bell for me, you know, I'm And I have this other thing. I draw, On card size paper and started office postcards because of mail art which was something that was big. Long before there were

computers and was away for artists to communicate with, with no money. And it was semi-public because, you know, you turned it into a post office and then there'd be a sorter that would look at it and then there'd be somebody at the next station, that would see it. And then there would be up a deliverer that would pick it up and look at it and then put it in there and maybe read it, while they're putting it in your and that involved, you know, an audience of

sore which I don't know. I found that kind of interesting about male art and so. So the idea of asking people to kind of get involved in something that was pretty archaic at this point. I mean, although they're still our organizations that are that are very active in mail art. You know, for the most part, everybody, you know, don't even know about it. Like my kids, they, you know, that they're like, why don't you use the mailbox 7 post anything they have now? Yeah, they and they came in and saw the postcards and they were

really impressed. They were like wow. Good hunting. There were these many people that wanted to send her a card and I think it's it was just a it was kind of an outlet in it felt like something that I've everyone could get involved with and it's the cost of a stent. You know it's like a 35-cent stampin Up anniversary. They were sending them to us which was wonderful but I think we'll see just reminding people that they can use this great service and it it brings so much joy and I know a lot of people that you know

we got a lot of messages from people just saying what a great kind of mental health activity, it is sitting down and making something and send it to someone. At least it's traveling, even if you aren't while we were all locked down. Yeah, instead of Social media, algorithms and all that crap. And when you look at something, on your phone, or on your Laptop seems less permanent than an actual physical. And what's the end? You know, you you know where it came from, but I think that hole.

So it delayed gratification in a we get so used to get instant responses. New send someone a message in your kind of waiting for immediate feedback. Will you make a song and you're waiting for the world to me? And I congratulate you and I feel like we did with mayo. It's this thing that you didn't even know if it's going to get that. And so then we'll see when it comes to the door. Like, it's such a nice surprise because you didn't know someone was sending you something. I necessarily feel like when you was sending, you know, how to stop back to the,

the, in back, in the days, by the office. Yeah. You didn't answer that. You were going to get anything back, right? You didn't know, you're just kept your fingers crossed. And why do you think? I mean, obviously the, the idea of this was supporting USPS and having people just be connected and if giving people way of being connected to the physically to something and, you know, it's the one another. So it was sort of this Collective art demonstration, but what about the vote aspect of it? Because you mentioned that in a lot more

people would be facing from higher. How much? How big a pot did mail play? Do you think in this election? Holy probably made all the difference. It seems like it, it seems like a such a high percentage of people did vote by mail this year, never happened like this before and it seems like a lot of the people that were thinking alike or were voting for the same person. All voted the same way and it and it seemed to have made a difference, you know, I think I'm

I don't know if you took all the all the mail art out. I didn't, I don't know if anybody's made all the male votes out, I don't know if if The probably is right. Probably somebody's done that number to cuz everybody's crazy about everything so I don't know. Do you know does the decider? Are you thinking, what I'm thinking we kind of it was you and me kind of a Saved America. We won this election. Yeah. Yeah, it's possible. Well, we had a little, we had a little thing. Wow.

What's this one owed to Putin? Look at that. That's great. Whatever the hell, I don't know what that is. Yeah, this is some people have still sent them off the more recently I think that's what's really interesting is it is you see all these themes you know you see you see Ruth, you know off the sheets she passed away and you see the environmental themes and and the environmental themes in the, obviously the kind of political ones and then black lives matter and women's

March through these different themes which is really amazing. And it sort of reflects the different months of the project is almost like I kind of have a calendar of what was going on in the last year through these cards which I think is so cool. Like a documentation. I wonder what the total count is a card that came out. I don't even know what the count is. Thousands and thousands. Have something to say. Here's a delicious-looking card. Some nice cheese covered corn chips.

two years ago, I wouldn't have guess that you would be interested in this because you're are to me, is more connected to You know, super high-tech and like, the far limits of of you. No thought and this is so much more like home. homely, you know in a good way, you know, it's like I'm it's like a Like I'm potato tacos or something, you know, and you know, your music projects are all. Further out there your kind of more into outer space. So yeah, I like that.

I thought I found that interesting that you would suggest doing this in you know. Yeah. Being partly lazy eye. Well, it's easy for me, I'm already there, you know? So soon. So yeah, so this is just came out to be a nice experience. I have a real in a soft spot for anything. That is anything tangible, anything that has a sort of ceremony to the experience in anything that tells a story. So I know it's the other stuff I do. It's all about figuring out these tangible

formats for this digital age and kind of thinking about how you can almost reimagine of vinyl experience for today. So you know, what is Jax of causing these theaters to the palm of your hand and things like that? And I think I just always loved mail as well. So during lockdown, I was just sending all the time. Like it was the one thing that was kind of keeping me sane and some and then at any time WeChat you'd be during on a card or something. And we do Vista had a conversation about doing

something in a day and collaboration. And then when everything happened within a USPS gang attacks, and when it will look kind of Daya, it just felt like a great place to put one's energy cuz I think Beyond, you know, the Democracy angle in the vote angle. I just think Mel is such a wonderful connect to her and I think there are so many things that we with technology in a technology. So good at Foss tracking stuff, but it will say, she changes us on a lot of things. And I think Mel is one of those things

that she brings so much more joy than in a text messages or emails or anything like that. So, if we've done a project that can also remind people of the value of these things that are hidden in plain sight, I feel the life is strange You've ever received in the mail? Oh, I I don't know what the strangest one is, but the most dangerous, I think was, I reached into an envelope once and my hand got cut off and I pulled it out. And somebody had sent me a crucifix made out of double-edged rubber blade, razor blades, and it somehow attached them all

together. So they were so it was like an acoustic shape but you but the package was stiff enough. You couldn't see what you were doing that. You already in there and committed to slicing your finger. It was a relief. My grandfather passed away so it came off too he died and there was blood on the envelope it was a birthday card for me. That's kind of cool the end times and mail my my request is, it's amazing modest but I just tried to get my friends skull from the back room. Mortuary after he after he

passed away and it's harder to get a skull of a friend of yours. What do you want to do it? It was on the smartest people, I knew and I just wanted to keep his skull and Just on display. Yeah, well, I'm sure there's some states. Where would be easier than California? Cuz I probably, I probably have to deal with this more often in here than at other places. So they've already got them. And the guy at the Kelly-Moore he didn't tell me that. Well, here's what I would do if you really want the skull.

Donate his body to a medical school make friends with students that are in the classes that might possibly be cutting him up. And then Pay them to give you the skull when they're done. What to do family things about this family thing, he had not much in the way of a family and a couple of daughters that I hadn't seen for a long time. He was, you know, so there was nobody else when it is called I was the only one who wanted it, but it wasn't it. Now, on the other hand, in Ohio,

Didn't get buried practically anywhere you want. If you want to be buried in your front yard, I think you can and my secret has been if I get to have anything to do with my burial, I would like to be buried with one leg sticking out of the ground. Why? I just like it cuz it's well, you know, first off, it's just, the whole idea of just, otherwise, being totally mummified and stuck in a box underground, just seems Suffocating in a way. You know. And I like the idea of just like one last hurrah, goodbye. I

maybe request if I have if I own a nice watch at the time, which I don't right now. I just have a feeling he's kind of BS. I just have one leg doing and pant leg and, and a watch on the ankle, you know, sticking out of my grave. All right, how many, how many Postman do you think? Are also in a band? I didn't know. I know we could we could work on having our own, our own little You know, section of South by Southwest words, just postal worker band. John Hine Mazda. Those dedicated to John

gone. Now, all the best people malman. That's a good way. Yeah, we've been talking about different things we could do and having the similar kind of appreciation of all tangible form at. Like they lost all of his mail and realizing it to me during lockdown. Staying just reminding everyone about you know all right to vote which it should be a fundamental, right? Maybe we see some shocking and and logical to Me. Maybe really want to be a part of this. And yeah, my been connected to

start late 60s, smokey. The dog of William. Wind went through 150 Air Raids, blue 12, air sea rescue mission. Some weather typhoon in at Okinawa. Yeah, we're going to do a will do an online Gallery. We're going to do a physical installation, as well as some kind and then that's your Rudy a spice when I did that combines men and the machine technology in off to create a synchronized visual piece with music. So they're going to go see different outfits, that's how we'll present

8760 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood CA and the post code is 90069. But if you want to go online to the website and we'll see if you can send in Vienna mail. It's a post-op, the democracy.

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