Karnival of Trash Mail Art Call: “Trak” Trashzine by Carl Baker (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)


Mail art by Carl Baker (aka Carlyle Baker) Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)

Alas, dear Tenderfoots, the Karnival of Trash is nearing the end of the dusty trail, the sun setting in the Western sea of retro-futurist post-history.

But linger on for a while ’round the frozen campfire because our long goodbye offers a breathtaking fireworks show that includes this special and unexpected contribution by network icon Carl Baker. His work has graced the humble pages of MinXus-Lynxus before, and I would guess anyone who has engaged in the network with any intensity has encountered him. If you do not know his art and poems, I would be thrilled if this entry could be your introduction.

Being able to include any work by Carl Baker is yet another artistic score for the Karnival of Trash. I call this entry “special” because Carl Baker did more than send a package of great work. He assembled a zine just for this occasion and at the same time generously shares a wide range of his work. His kind note explains:


Participants in the Karnival of Trash have made significant advances in the (anti-)art of the Trashbook. Carl Baker’s Trak is a zine, which I am tempted to re-classify as a Trashbook. But I won’t. So what we have instead, in terms of genre, is a very interesting variant of DKult fanzines that have been issued since 2011. I do not believe, until now, anyone has issued a Trashpo zine not affiliated with a Kulter chapter. Additionally, knowing his sometimes fierce individualism, I doubt Carl Baker would ever affiliate too closely with a specific DKult chapter. So we have here a unique example of a Trashpo zine that emphasizes the poetic rather than the Kult of personality.


Page from Trak by Carl Baker

I am not publishing Trak in its entirety: These are representative selections.


Many of these pieces will be of great interest to fans of visual poetry and the current asemic writing/art movement.


No doubt a CB self-portrait and response (?) to the Kulter p(r)overb: “Fluxus needs to stop stealing from Trashpo.”


Whether by intention or accident, the reference to the Church of the SubGenius is brilliant!


Trak also includes the style of collage that took root and evolved during the Age of Zines, one of mail art’s many contributions to the culture.



Back cover of Trak by Carlyle Baker (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)

Deepest thanks to Carl Baker for this thoughtful entry. I will be sharing other work included in the package in future posts.

Meanwhile, more documentation for the Karnival of Trash is forthcoming. Many exciting piece will be shown. But the call is closed and I am considering both new projects and additional ways to document the historic KoT.



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