SHOE DAY Thursday 12 MARCH 1998
A Fluxus Influx Event

Experiences/Observations by FLUXUS Midwest
Nazca Line Drawings, Fluxus Indians, Highway Billboards, Wall Drug, Cranbrook Academy of Art

bird outline approximately 123m long
Photo (C) by Georges Rosset / Geneva

Nazca Line Drawings

The story goes that when the Fluxus Indians first heard about the large ground carvings made by a group of Indians on the Southern Continent (near Nazca, Peru) they were so intrigued and inspired that they held a special conference. After considerable discussion and experimentation, the conference arrived at the following conclusions:

  • Although the true motivations behind the Nazca project were unknown, the Fluxus Indians speculated that the extraordinarily large symbols were constructed as a ploy to get more attention from "holy celestial beings."
  • That the function of these ground-carved symbols and logos, therefore, was actually more about "oompah" (advertising) than about art or ritual.
  • That viewing a very large physical representation of a symbol seemed to use a different part of the mind (and produce different thinking) than when one viewed a small-scale representation.
  • That this was a fun game to play.

Fluxus Indian Ground Sculptures

For a period of nearly five years after the "Nazca Brainstorming Conference," the Fluxus Indians constructed many large-scale, temporary, environmentally friendly logo and symbol "sculptures" throughout central North America. These were done for "play" as well as to "advertise" the Fluxus Indians and their ideas.

a favorite symbol

Many of these "oompah" displays were placed on the sides of hills, in broad grassy plains, or on river banks. They used a variety of their favorite symbols and logos--such as the TV Test Pattern. Rather than use their feet to stomp ruts and lines into the ground (and risk permanently scarring the environment), the Fluxus Indians amused themselves by using simple (biodegradable) drawings of mocassin footprints to create these large-scale logo sculptures.

creating the image

Highway Billboards, Wall Drug

Although no Fluxus Indian ground sculptures remained by the time European explorers arrived, tales and legends of this work are said to have inspired the idea for modern highway billboard advertising. The Fluxus Indian ground sculptures were typically constructed so that the closer you got to Fluxus Indian territory, the larger the symbols became--and, presumably, the greater the anticipation grew of meeting the Fluxus Indians. The founders of WALL DRUG, South Dakota, have credited this idea with being the inspiration behind their famous "XX Miles to Wall Drug!" billboard advertising campaign.

Fluxus Indian TV Test Pattern

SHOE DAY 12 MARCH 1998, Cranbrook

On SHOE DAY 12 MARCH 1998 FLUXUS Midwest celebrated Fluxus Indian Ground Sculpture. An expedition was mounted to the outdoor theater of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Armed with a stack of Xerox copies of the bottoms of a pair of shoes, we constructed a small-scale representation of the Fluxus Indian TV Test Pattern...and celebrated this early concept of advertising.

Fluxus Advertising

return to first page