Artpool’s Guest: Anna Banana
Anna Banana first came to Hungary in 1978, when she and Bill Gaglione toured Europe with their performance of Italian Futurist scenes entitled Futurist Sound. Their first performance in Budapest was on 23 October, in the Club of Young Artists, which is when György Galántai had the idea that Banana should open his exhibition entitled Book Objects, which was due to be held the next day in Fészek Club. The idea was inspired by “Bananaland” and the “Banana language”, which – as a possible form of Futurist/Neodada meta-language – could be created by Banana (who spoke no Hungarian) reading out the Hungarian text written for the opening by András Bán.
Soon after this a folding catalogue entitled “Antecedent” was made about the exhibition, also documenting Banana’s participation at the event, which became the immediate antecedent of Artpool’s birth. “Antecedent” was a driving force of a story that was yet to unfold: Galántai sent the catalogue, rubberstamped with the line Please send information about your activity to his worldwide mailing list, which by that time already contained hundreds of addresses. In response to his postal action, a huge amount of mail, including catalogues, posters, news articles and artwork, was sent to Galántai. Such an unexpected result called for the immediate establishment of an “alternative institution” linked to the Mail-Art Network. The “self-identical” namegiving was carried out using the method of instant realisation or recognition: Galántai had the idea of using Komjádi pool opposite their flat as a marker for their geographical location, for which his wife, Júlia Klaniczay, suggested the phrase “genetic pool” as a model. As a consensus of the founders the “apartment institution” was thus given the name Artpool.
Two interesting series of events took place in parallel at the outset of Artpool’s story: Anna Banana and Bill Gaglione visited the famous Italian mail-artist G. A. Cavellini in 1978, while Artpool visited him in 1979. As a result of these personal meetings, Cavellini participated in the Inter-Dada ’80 Festival, which was in part organised by Banana, in Ukiah, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Here he was received with a grand celebration by the young Neodadaist mail-artists. After a short break, at the end of May, the 66-year-old “pope of Mail Art” arrived in Budapest to open the Cavellini exhibition, which was a meeting of artists organised by Artpool. It was here that he had the performance which since then has become an iconic event. Cavellini published a book about the events in California and Budapest, which, typically, he personally addressed and posted to his international mailing list, which contained thousands of addresses.
Anna Banana, is an American-Canadian artist-performer and bananologist. Budapest is the 25th stop of her European tour. As a guest of Artpool she presents videotapes of the 1975 and 1980 Banana Olympics. She talks about the present state of the researches on the banana syndrome and presents for the first time in Hungary the Bananaskin-Rorschach Test. [interview]
Anna Banana prefers interactive works as is the now presented "Banana Consciousness" event. She conducts scientific banana research among the audience based on the Rorschach test, which explores new psychological depths.
According to Banana the most interesting in ‘93 was the “research” into the “new German banana consciousness”: Proof Positive Germany is Going Bananas. "When I went to Stuttgart, there was a food exhibition on in the technology museum, and linked to that they organised a banana day. I saw posters of a reggae band called Radio Banana in Berlin, and in Sierksdorf by the Baltic Sea I had the chance to see the world’s first Banana Museum. There are specialised bananologists there, too, but I differ from them in the sense that I my interest is focussed on the fruit’s presence in (mail) art. I don’t approach my subject with external objectivity, but instead use it as an extension of my personality and my behaviour" (interview).
(English translation by