Mail-Interview with Bern Porter (USA)
Started on: 29-8-1995
RJ : Welcome to this mail-interview. First let me ask you the traditional question. When did you get involved in the mail-art network?
Reply on 12-9-1995
BP : I invented mail art, November 11. 1913
RJ : Why November 11th 1913? What happened on that day that you decided to start to send out mail art?
Reply on 19-10-1995
BP : Sitting together on the floor of his 8x8 foot apartment east side New York I asked Ray: "What are you doing?" He answered: "Being myself."
(the next question to Bern Porter I wrote with pencil on a two-color blue silk-screen printing of Ray Johnson)
RJ : Ray answered "Being myself". So, who was Ray? I would like to know.
Reply on 20-3-1996
BP : I asked Ray: "What are you doing?" He answered: "Being myself, average weight, average height, non drinking, non smoking, daily on the uproad to survival."
I maintain at a library here "The Bern Porter Collection of Contemporary Letters" and wish to have the complete set of everything you have ever done. Advise cost delivered to me U.S.A. B.P U.S. Dollars in bankcheck form.
RJ : "Everything I ever have done?" That is difficult. Because all the mail art I sent out isn't mine anymore. All I produce is sent out into the network and I only have spare issues of magazines and copies of some pieces of mail. Everything I received and kept so far, that is something I have. Are all the letters you get (like e.g. this one) going to be part of "The Bern Porter Collection of Contemporary Letters", or is is just a "part of your life" that forms this collection? Just currious, what is in the collection?
22 Salmond Road,
BELFAST , ME 04915
(Bern Porter died, so the interview never was finished)