Art, Bureaucracy and Resistance

During the 1970s, many parts of Latin America were ruled by authoritarian governments that violently censored, persecuted, and repressed any perceived opposition. Artists in the region and beyond often turned to mail art to circulate and exchange artworks that addressed these dire conditions. Through the mail art network, Carrión forged relationships with artists living under these authoritarian regimes. Throughout the decade, he produced several projects denouncing the persecution his collaborators faced while also assisting them with the transmission of their own works.

In spite of his own profound involvement with mail art, Carrión was skeptical of its reliance on the government bureaucracies of the postal system. In his noted essay “Mail Art and the Big Monster,” Carrión compared mail art with a big monster of unknown but intimidating powers. Striving to decouple mail art from the state, he proposed his own alternative system for the exchange of artworks, where he would serve as Postmaster and sole courier.