Artifacts of the Analog Era – Rex Weiner

“As I pack the FedEx box addressed to the Interference Archive in Brooklyn, New York—a nonprofit study center for ‘objects created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, zines, t-shirts and buttons, audio recordings…’—I am holding a poster that says FUCK COMMUNISM and suddenly find myself in tears. My collection of printed matter from the sixties and seventies has followed me across decades and miles, from East Coast to West. By packing these items off to this worthy repository in my native city, I am letting go of those miles, those years, and these fragile things on yellowing paper. ‘Imagine no possessions,’ says John Lennon. ‘Does it spark joy?’ says Marie Kondo. But this personal downsizing is more elemental than any kind of tidying up. These items are handcrafted artifacts of the late twentieth century’s analog era—a road I followed, and in some small ways contributed to making. Now, in the early twenty-first century, that road tapers off into the digital ether, leading who knows where. So I feel compelled to take one last look at a few of my treasures before sending these things off. 1) KOUFAX AND WARHOL IN ’68 (bumper sticker). The backing still attached, this bumper sticker never stuck to any car’s bumper. Who created it, and where, or how it came into my possession is a mystery. In the midst of the turbulent and historically decisive 1968 presidential race (think back, now: Humphrey/Muskie vs. Nixon/Agnew), the bumper sticker nominates one of baseball’s idiosyncratically great pitchers and a culturally disruptive artist as a winning ticket. Its juxtaposition captures a certain kind of countercultural cool. Seen through the windshield of its time, or in today’s rearview mirror, this automobile ornament is a sociopolitically perverse provocation, as well as a kind of litmus test for hipness: either you smile or you don’t. And if you don’t know who Koufax or Warhol are (Sandy’s still with us) or were, well … anyway, I’d be happy to vote this ticket today. 2) JOIN THE JURY (8 ½ x 11 leaflet, two-sided, offset printed on yellow paper, dated September 1970). The trials of the Black Panther Party, and the deadly federal government campaign against them and all of those involved in what we referred to at that time as ‘The Movement’—which included progressive causes from antiwar, civil rights, and feminism to gay rights and environmental activism—reached a crescendo in the fall of 1970 when this flyer was printed and handed out in a time of physical peril for activists. …”
The Paris Review

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in 1968 DNC, Black Power, Bob Dylan, Civil Rights Mov., Counterculture, Environmental, Feminist, Newspaper, Nixon, Poetry, Sports, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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